YouTube taps interactive programming leader

As head of innovation, Ben Relles is charged with finding new ways to broaden viewer participation.
April 10, 2019

YouTube head of unscripted Ben Relles is getting a new remit, taking over as head of innovation for the platforms originals department. In his new role, he’ll develop a slate of interactive programming and live specials.

His main responsibility in the newly created position is to find ways that viewers can interact and participate with content on the platform. He will be focused on developing new interactive shows, and will be looking at YouTube’s existing slate to find ways to incorporate interactive features.

He will continue to report to Susanne Daniels, the head of YouTube originals.

Relles has been with YouTube originals since 2015 as the head of unscripted, where he oversaw development on programming from Kevin Hart, Will Smith, Gigi Gorgeous, Katy Perry and Ariana Grande. Before joining the division, he served as YouTube’s global head of creative strategy.

The move to more interactive programming is a few years behind Netflix, which rolled out its first choose-your-own-adventure style shows in 2017. Buddy Thunderstruck and Puss in Book led the way and Netflix followed up with the recently greenlit Battle Kitty, a new animated interactive series inspired by animator Matt Layzell’s Instagram posts.

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