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The Future of Video Is Interactive

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Written by: Helen Brown | Ember Television

This year YouTube celebrated it’s 10th Birthday.  It’s had such a profound impact on the way we produce, view and share video online that it’s hard to imagine the web without it.  

YouTube was fundamental in bringing video to the web – what’s the next step in the relationship between the web and video?

We already see limited interactivity with YouTube Annotations where viewers are able to subscribe and follow links to other videos and websites.

But technologies like TouchcastPopcorn.js and Zaption – to name just a few – claim that they are bringing the ‘web to video’. They allow producers to make their content interactive by enabling their viewers to click on the video to connect to related articles, videos and real-time data.  

Producers can also include quizzes, questions and collect audience feedback as well as detailed analytics.

Earlier this year, international news provider the Wall Street Journal began using Touchcast to create interactive video. They described it as one of “the most important things they were going to be doing in 2015.”  They are keen to tell the viewer that they now “control the story”. 

Wall Street Journal use Touchcast for their interactive video news content

It provides a tailored experience to their audience as they can now access in-depth information directly from the news bulletin about the stories that interest them the most.   

Many producers have adopted a Choose Your Own Adventure approach. Viewers can not only tailor their content but also benefit from feedback and responses to their input and decisions.

In February this year we saw the launch of YouTube’s multi-angle editor which enables viewers to choose their own camera angle during a live or recorded performance.  

Thanks to 10 years of YouTube, viewers can now watch what they want, when they want and now they can choose how they watch it.

So far, interactive video is about giving more control to audiences and providing more than just a passive viewing experience.

But what interests me the most is how video can become more integrated with the web.  

As video becomes more interactive and clickable we will see the boundaries between web and video dissolve and the integration of the two becoming increasingly seamless.  

This could change the way we view video online as it no longer needs to be static and linear but something malleable and responsive.

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