When I brought home the first DVD with interactive menus, it struck me in a profound way. The only thing holding back true interactive experience at the time — it was 1999 — was bandwidth. So the studios still needed to rely on the round plastic disk.
But it was loaded with content – some of it passive, superficial and “lean back” while other parts were interactive, deep and “lean forward.” Importantly, the medium accommodated all of the above. And even more importantly, that fact contributed enormously to the medium’s value. (By medium I mean the disk and its contents.)
So most people – the majority of user personas – are perfectly happy dropping the disk into the drawer only to sit back and watch the movie. But that’s okay. In fact, it’s fine.
My digital media producing cohorts were scandalized by that statement. Many of you probably still are. The fact is that in most scenarios, we as media consumers simply want to take the path of least resistance to our goal or goals. And why not? The empowered consumer deserves nothing less than our impartial respect.
However, up ’til now we’ve categorized media experiences with the conjunction “or” instead of the more powerful “and.” The experience was either passive OR interactive. But the DVD began to package the more full range of experiences in one wrapper. Moving us from “or” to “and” incrementally.
It offered completely passive “watching” experiences, which are undeniably emotionally fulfilling and interesting in their own way. And it gave me a range of choices to make my experience more personal, interactive and “deep” depending on my predilections and desires in the moment — all the way to the point that I’d be leaning forward playing a DVD-ROM video game as a character from the movie.
Given the full range of experience inherent in the medium, I associated more value from the product (in this case a movie/content franchise).
Next, let’s look at how Depth On Demand™ can apply to brands not movies.
That DVD, by the way, was The Sixth Sense. Gadzooks!