When Netflix approached Dreamworks Animation to pioneer a “choose
your own adventure” style show, “Puss in Boots” writer-producer
Doug Langdale accepted before they even finished the pitch.
“They came and started explaining the possibilities,” Langdale
told Business Insider. “I don’t think they got through the word
‘interactive’ before I said ‘yes.’”
Dreamworks had already created a few seasons of “The
Adventures of Puss in Boots,”
and Langdale welcomed the fresh challenge
of making multiple paths for kids to explore. (Making season
after season of a TV show can get a tad monotonous, he
For Netflix, it was a chance to make its kids content stand out
from the competition, and emphasize how Netflix can use
technology to open up new forms.
Netflix’s programming for kids has quietly become a juggernaut,
but competitors like HBO, Amazon, and Hulu are also
fiercely going after the market. There’s good reason: Half of
Netflix subscribers watch children’s and family shows on a
monthly basis, according to Netflix’s head of product innovation
for the category, Carla Engelbrecht Fisher.
Fisher said that Netflix had been kicking around the idea of
creating “branching” shows for most of the three years she’s been
at the company, and that its first title, “Puss in Book: Trapped
in an Epic Tale,” took two years to come to fruition. Netflix
released it on June 20, and will release another, “Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe
Pile,” on July 14.
A simple choice
A “branching” Netflix show works much the same way as a
choose-your-own-adventure book. You are watching a TV show
unfold, and eventually you get to a virtual fork in the road,
where you choose one of two options. Then the narrative
Here’s an example from the “Puss in Book” demo given to…