Eko, the Walmart-backed studio behind last year’s WarGames, is teaming up with Refinery29 to produce a series of interactive experiences, reports Variety. The first of these, a scripted show based on the Money Diaries column, has already entered development, and is scheduled to be released later this year. It will be available on Refinery29, and will task viewers with making spending choices on behalf of the characters.
Choose Your Own Adventure-style shows have been catapulted back into popularity by Netflix’s recent Bandersnatch, a feature-length Black Mirror film about the development of a video game with a similarly branching narrative. Netflix has used the format for a number of its shows, including a Bear Grylls show where you pick the best survival techniques for the show’s presenter. Money Diaries will likely have a more practical focus for the everyday lives of its viewers.
Walmart invested in Eko as part of a $250 million joint venture last year. Walmart said at the time that its plan was to develop interactive content to connect with its customers, including cooking shows and interactive toy catalogs. While this current series is destined for Refinery29, it sounds exactly like the kind of “shoppable” content that Walmart wants for Vudu, its own streaming service. Variety reports that Eko is currently also working with Walmart to develop separate projects for Vudu, which is thought to be getting at least six new original programs this year.
Refinery29 and Eko are reportedly looking to sell ads and sponsorships for the series. Eko has developed its own interactive-ad format called Sparks, which shows different ads to different viewers based on their choices. Ad revenue will reportedly be shared between the two companies, but Eko will retain ownership of the content.
Following the show based on Money Diaries, Eko plans to develop experiences based on Refinery29’s 60 Second Cities and Sweet Digs series. Eko has also recently worked with Buzzfeed Tasty to produce an interactive cooking series, and its interactive Bob Dylan music video from 2013 for the song “Like a Rolling Stone” is also well worth a watch.