Viewers have been flocking to a locally produced online drama series that allows the viewers to influence the story.
Reservoir Hill, showing on the Web through TVNZ On Demand, lets viewers interact with the story by texting its central character at the end of each episode. The character appears to read the text message on her mobile phone, and the actual message sent by the viewer can be seen in a special bonus scene. The production team then analyses all the viewer feedback before writing the script for the next episode.
The concept of letting viewers push the plot along has already been tried in other Web-based series overseas, but this is thought to be the first time that mobile phones have been the link – previously it’s been done via email.
The SMS functionality is the work of Run The Red, a digital mobile marketing company that has been involved in campaigns for leading brands including BP, Vodafone, Disney, SKY, Telecom and Kiwibank.
“This is a fantastic example of how mobile can work with the Internet,” Run The Red’s CEO Ben Northrop told NetGuide. “TVNZ are just ecstatic about the result, and they’re looking at other uses in television.
“Most people have mobiles these days and it’s become a big fashion statement – what kind of mobile you have – and it seems to be the perfect channel to engage with use for the Reservoir Hill campaign.”
Proof of the concept’s success came with 5000 ‘interactions’ recorded for the first episode alone.
Reservoir Hill is a dark and edgy drama centred around Beth Connolly, a teen who moves to a new suburb after her parents separate. Keep up with Beth at www.tvnz.co.nz/reservoir-hill