BBC’s perceptive media project will end the shared story experience

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Above: Screenshot taken from the BBC demo video

Will users welcome technology which adjusts to their personalities? Will we need more screens to watch the same film in the living room? The complexity of storytelling won’t decrease if you split experiences based on data you gather from profiling questions. 

Visual Perceptive Media is a film which explores the limits of personalisation in the film industry. The way you listen to music and personality questions asked in an accompanying app paired with gender and age information will determine what you will see on screen. The screenshot above shows how such films create a parallel story universe, which will only visible to you if you’re a female or male viewer. Filters might help to adjust the colour appearance based on your overall mode. The BBC considers the narrative itself, background music, colour grading and the overall mood as configurable parameters which can be adjusted based on data gathered about you. A demo movie produced in the BBC lab in MediaCityUK explains in more detail how whole scenes might change or get dropped to create personalised experiences. 

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Above: Screenshot taken from the BBC demo video at 01:47

In its current experimental state the film uses data gathered via an app, but the BBC clearly says, that in the future of course any service could be used as a base to personalize the film experience. To reach that level of personalization, a different technological approach to film making and distribution had to be taken and film elements are now interpreted as objects.

The lab project surfaces interesting questions of how much personalised experiences are really welcomed in a market. How much shared experience do we need? Do we get lost in storytelling, if no film is like the other and even the experience of a single person watching a film multiple times could alter the narrative, based on individual variables which will likely change over time like mood? What does that mean for advertising? Will it enable more sophisticated targeting on base of such qualitative data? Would the advertising industry be ready for such a now experience which will likely increase the costs of producing adequate advertising material?

Additional links

Visual Perceptive Media, BBC

The BBC wants to make movies that adapt to your interests, The Verge

BBC experiments with video personalized to every viewer, Engadget

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