Netflix Introduces Interactive Content for Kids With Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Style Programming

'Branching' episodes give viewers multiple options per session

The first installment is available today with Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale.
NETFLIX

With an animated Puss in Boots spinoff, Netflix announced its slate of interactive programming this week.

Netflix subscribers who use smart TVs, streaming media players, game consoles, and/or iOS devices are the only ones who will be able to access this new form of entertainment, for now.

These “branching” episodes act like a choose-your-own-adventure experience for viewers; with a tap of your finger or with the help of your smart TV remote, you can decide where the story will go within an episode.

“While the mantra of our collaborations has been ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if…?,’ the objective has been to bring something completely new to Netflix that pushes the boundaries of storytelling and the way you engage with it,” said Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, Netflix’s director of product innovation, in the announcement.

According to Business Insider, the first installment of this interactive entertainment took two years to create. Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale is a spinoff of Puss in Boots, a series inspired by the Shrek film franchise, which was once a part of Netflix’s original kids programming for more than a year.

Along the way, viewers are given two choices every few minutes to keep their engagement with the episode; in the Puss in Book episode, viewers are given a total of 26 story options. Eventually, viewers can see most of the choices they didn’t pick in order to experience all potential different outcomes of the story.

“The children’s programming space was a natural place for us to start since kids are eager to ‘play’ with their favorite characters and already inclined to tap, touch and swipe at screens,” said Fisher. “They also talk to their screens, as though the characters can hear them. Now, that conversation can be two-way.”

Additional interactive episodes will launch in the coming months. A branching episode titled Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile will premiere on July 14; a third installment, Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout, will come next year.

“It’s really about finding the right stories, and storytellers, that can tell these complex narratives and bring them to life in a compelling way,” said Fisher.