At prime time on October 17, public TV broadcasters in six European countries will simultaneously show German-produced interactive drama The Verdict (Terror – Ihr Urteil).
The fictional feature-length drama deals with the aftermath of a terror attack in Germany, during which a passenger plane was hijacked and aimed at a packed football stadium. Disregarding direct orders, a German air-force pilot takes it down, killing 164 people on board the plane to protect 70,000 sports revellers. Now, he faces charges for his actions.
Having witnessed the trial during the 90-minute court thriller, audiences in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Italy will then act as the jury. In each region, the voting process will be moderated by local anchormen. Depending on the audience's verdict, the show either ends in the pilot's acquittal or conviction for 164 counts of murder. The broadcast will be followed by live political talk shows to continue the moral discussion at the core of The Verdict.
The narrative media landscape is increasingly dominated by on-demand personal viewing schedules. Interactive storytelling is one way to capture large audiences simultaneously and reintroduce appointment viewing to narrative content. Certainly, the growth of interactive live video indicates audiences enjoy connecting with what they watch, as well as other viewers.
For more on interactive video and real-time engagement, see Mastering the Attention Economy: Social Media Week London 2016 and The Messaging Opportunity.