Up and down the video lists of YouTube’s top creators, hyperlinked annotations are ubiquitous. But in their three years as a supported feature on the platform, few have actually built their entire channels around them. The few that have honed this craft of viewer-guided storytelling have learned that it’s one way to keep viewers engaged in their work—rather than serving weekly snackables to their fans, creators like Chad Matt & Rob are serving bi-monthly feasts.
Their latest interactive, The Treasure Hunt which came to be after teaming up with TV prodCo Fremantle, first screened for audiences at the Anaheim International Film Festival back in August. Now last week their first stab at the western was released on their YouTube channel. CMR’s Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin directed the Hunt, which stars Bettinelli-Olpin alongside partners Chad Villella and Rob Polonsky.
So for, by our count, the project has racked up just over 150,000 views for the 9-part Treasure Hunt since its launch last Wednesday—not counting the 182,000 views for the trailer which bowed back in August. Their previous interactive The Teleporter, which was backed by men’s deodorant brand AXE and debuted back in December, has notched just under 900,000 views.
The latest two haven’t reached the franchise status of the previous three that put Chad Matt & Rob on the map, and helped build their base of 182,000 subscribers on YouTube. The Birthday Party, The Murder and The Time Machine have together ticked off 14.2 million views across all ‘episodes’ of the series. Counting the latest two, it’s 15.3 million views just for their interactives. And judging by the interest from major brands like AXE, they are getting hip to the fact that viewers of these interactives, which routinely ask for direct input from the viewers, are more engaged than the casual clicker.
Other standouts like the interactives from The Station, SpastikChuwawa and The Fine Brothers are helping make the choose-your-own-adventure a mainstay on the network. Even our friends over at Mashable are hooked, putting together a top 10 list of interactive videos on YouTube.
Want more? Join Tubefilter at SXSW Interactive Conference for our panel—Decision Trees: YouTube’s New Breed of Interactive Storytellers—on March 13, 2011, which features Chad Matt & Rob along with The Fine Brothers and more. As if you needed one more reason to go to SXSW, make sure to read our recap of last year: “Why Your Web Series Should Have Gone to SXSW.”