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Audience Participation with Linear TV

robert | May 9, 2012  ‐  8 Comments

Question: In a TV fictional drama that’s been shot and edited, how do you introduce audience participation?

Answer: Make the TV series part of a larger open storyworld and provide additional participation layers.

Too often participation in TV is limited to game shows. Telephone voting evolved to text voting and has now evolved to web-based voting but participation is still largely quiz-based voting. What if the audience could actually enter a fictional drama as their own character and explore the world in such a way that they feel the dilemmas presented to the on-screen characters?

Imagine that the TV show is a train travelling from London to Manchester. It leaves on time, arrives at several train stations on time and will arrive in Manchester on time. Nothing the audience does can change the course of the train or where it stops. This is the fictional drama. The plot points are the train stations – carefully crafted to create drama along the journey.

Now imagine that the audience, instead of watching from a sit back position, could travel on the train carriages. They can’t affect the train journey but they can travel around the train – exploring, interacting with other passengers (some real some computer-controlled), role-playing. The writers have created a rich storyworld – the carriages and the stops along the journey – that allow participation without derailing the train.

Some will prefer to sit back and enjoy the journey and drift away to other entertainment between the episodes. Others will find that participation leads to greater enjoyment through deeper immersion and they will stay engaged with their own drama between episodes.

This participation is possible with Conducttr.