YouTube programming gets interactive


Ben Relles has been named as the new head of innovation at YouTube, a role that will see the video platform move deeper into interactive programming and live specials. He was previously head of unscripted (i.e. reality/documentary etc.) content at YouTube.

There was a huge buzz around interactive TV late last year when the Bandersnatch episode of Black Mirror appeared on Netflix and many, many think pieces were hastily cobbled together about what this meant for the future of TV and the end of linear broadcasting.

There was a lot of interest around music, especially, as viewers of Bandersnatch were able to pick the background music at key moments. Obviously this was from a limited choice of songs, but it raised questions about how synchronisation and music supervision could be reborn (or killed off) in this environment. There are also wider marketing issues here around product placement and turning TV shows and videos into glorified shop windows.

For now, it is all something happening in isolated pockets rather than a total reimagining of TV viewing. However, the fact that YouTube is warming up its interactive engines could have significant knock-on effects for the music video. That said, given the number of pop-up and overlay ads one experiences when watching YouTube for any length of time, will the viewer really want yet another box appear they have to click when all they want to do is watch some pop stars sing a song?

Eamonn Forde

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