YouTube is developing new choose-your-own-adventure shows following the success of the Black Mirror special Bandersnatchon Netflix last year.
The shows will be developed by a new programming division, which will also work on live specials for the streaming site and will be headed up be YouTube’s Ben Relles.
Mr Relles has been with the company for eight years and had previously worked on unscripted programmes including Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries and Kevin Hart’s What the Fit?
Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s head of original programming, said the company now had “amazing new tools and opportunities to create and tell multilayered and interactive stories”.
YouTube is expected to unveil a new slate of shows at an event in New York in a few weeks time.
It has already made moves into interactive advertising in the past, one example being a campaign by fashion retailer Asos which let users click on colour panels to see different videos and outfits.
However, developing interactive shows would be a shift for YouTube, which has up until now been channeling most of its focus into reality and live TV, and would require significant investment from parent company Google.
The development of new choose-your-own-adventure would put YouTube in direct competition with Netflix, which last month said it was “doubling down” on such content.
Speaking at a media and entertainment conference in Mumbai, India, Netflix’s vice president of content, Todd Yellin, said: “Expect over the next year or two to see more interactive storytelling. And it won’t necessarily be science fiction, or it won’t necessarily be dark. It could be a wacky comedy. It could be a romance, where the audience gets to choose – should she go out with him or him.”
It comes after Bandersnatch, which was part of the dystopian science fiction series Black Mirror which aired on Netflix, received critical acclaim late last year on its release. In the show, viewers are able to make decisions for protagonist Stefan Butler and change the ending of the story depending on their choices.
Mr Yellen said the show was a “a huge hit around the world”, prompting Netflix to realise that “interactive storytelling is something we want to bet more on”.