This year’s edition of MIPTV saw a whole host of exciting and forward-thinking presentations and discussions surrounding the central concept of storytelling. We felt both at home and especially interested in the innovations up for debate surrounding user/story interaction and its expansion into digital.
As a creative digital production company, MediaMonks are no strangers to working from an existing idea or format and translating it into digital. In the last year, we’ve created close to thirty digital experiences for the web and mobile that have been intrinsically linked to television – for companies such as BBC, Nickelodeon, RTL and Talpa. Thanks to this, we’ve seen a lot of exciting similarities developing between our work and the advertising and television branch of the industry.
Right now we’re seeing a prolific number of attempts to flip the format of TV on its head and give power back to the user, in the form of digital interaction. This was also one of the key subjects that we discussed with people and organisations that we met at MIPTV. As a result of these conversations, it quickly became clear that this extra layer of digital interaction is applicable and complementary to almost every category that exists within television.
The most obvious instance for incorporating digital interaction and storytelling is game shows and talent shows. In these instances, the viewer is able to feel part of the program and play along, get selected to take part on TV, or even have a genuine influence on the outcome of the show – all from their couch. It is no surprise therefore that we’ve seen a lot of these shows being accompanied by digital formats over the last few years. MediaMonks recently developed such an experience for The Voice of Holland, which aired on Talpa and RTL. The second-screen application enabled viewers to learn all there is about the contestants, create their own teams and both judge and predict the winners of each show – all of which could result in winning amazing prizes.
Similarly, Israel’s talent show Rising Star by Keshet International (MIPFormats case study report here) has made use of real-time voting technology to allow the audience dictate the narrative of the show, as it happens.
However, enhancing stories with digital is also applicable to other genres, such as the realm of fiction. Whether it’s building games based on kids programmes, or digital experiences for delving deeper into long-term dramas and soap series, digital allows you to create additional value with existing IPs on other mediums. Digital is also being integrated into the storyline of shows right from the start. A brilliant example of this the Australian murdery mystery, Secrets & Lies. Presented at MIPTV by HoodlumActive, the show allows users to make their own decisions about key storylines and suspects:
Even non-fiction television, such as documentaries and reality shows, can benefit from this extra layer of interaction. Digital formats can enable viewers to become active participants, travelling through all of the worlds on offer, and exploring extra information or content of the show. On behalf of Talpa, MediaMonks recently produced the Utopia Platform, which offers viewers 24/7 live-footage from the eponymous reality show, once you have acquired your very own Utopian passport. The more you interact with the show, the more content becomes visible to you. The platform is able to communicate with all big streaming and payment platforms, making it a diverse and applicable platform for launching all over the world.
The most exciting thing we took home from MIPTV was that many of those in the television industry share our thoughts, namely that storytelling is about transcending the medium and putting content first. Digital enables the viewer to be placed in the middle of the story and even experience it on their own. But it can also give people the power to interact with an existing story in a new and different way. This sort of scouting trip therefore reassured our thoughts: When a digital extension of a TV format really complements the show, your can give the viewer a more extensive (and intensive) experience. And this, of course, can create extra advertising value.