Traditional media companies are looking to cutting-edge technologies to give them an advantage in the future of content production, and that doesn’t always mean virtual reality or mobile games.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM), the company responsible for James Bond and Creed, announced today that it led an $18.2 million investment round in technology startup Interlude. This new company is developing a video tech that can understand a person’s emotions and interests and respond appropriately to them. While MGM led the investment round, it also saw participation from Warner Music Group and Samsung along with Sequoia Capital and Intel, which both put money into Interlude in a previous round. The big leap forward here is that traditional film companies can focus on the things they do best, such as character development and storytelling, while also getting the advantages of an engaged audience that interactive mediums like video games enjoy.
This isn’t Interlude’s first interaction with MGM. The companies previously announced they were working together on an interactive digital short based on MGM’s 1983 hacker classic WarGames. Now, with this influx of cash, Interlude will continue working on projects like that while simultaneously improving its technology, bringing on more creators, and experimenting with interactive video in new genres.
All of this will build on top of Interlude’s current library of music videos, games, and advertisements. When it comes to games, the technology is still early. The company has experimented with basic game-like interactions along the lines of Paper, Rock, Scissors, which you can try for yourself below.
“Though video has always been a very powerful storytelling medium, it has not, to date, been able to adjust and adapt from viewer to viewer,” Interlude chief executive Yoni Bloch said in a canned statement. “But we are aiming to allow filmmakers and content to form a unique connection with each viewer. This has the potential to change the relationship between film and individual audience members.”
Interlude suggests that the potential of interactive, responsive video is that instead of a passive experience, content creators can build something that viewers will want to “lean into” and engage with. That would potentially manifest a stronger bond between the audience and whatever it is they are viewing.
MGM clearly agrees with that, and its chairman and CEO, Gary Barber, is joining Interlude’s board of directors in an “observer” role. The company is likely looking around and seeing competitors like Lionsgate and Lucasfilm embracing virtual reality and mobile gaming. Interactive video could provide MGM with its own path to relevance in an increasingly digital world.
“MGM continues to expand its footprint by identifying innovative platforms and technologies, such as Interlude, to introduce new audiences to our creative content,” said Barber.
Now, I just need MGM and Interlude to give me an interactive Rocky movie where I get to yell “Yo, Adrian!” over and over at my TV.