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Next TV: Nat Geo Building Interactivity Within Original Content

New York -- Content providers should look for opportunities
to create original, "lean-in" programming that will engage viewers and complement
second-screen experiences, according to National Geographic Channels president
Howard Owens.

Shows such as Nat Geo's Brain Games -- in which
viewers interact with on-screen optical illusions, mind tricks and exercises
that test and challenge the workings of the brain -- provide a lean-in,
"virtual interactive gaming experience" that engages viewers beyond traditional
second-screen content applications, Owens said Thursday at B&C/Multichannel News' Next TV Summit
in New York. 

"It's an effort for us to create lean-in TV," he said. "Most
of the television people make is passive, and we create second-screen
experiences to make them richer and to create a better viewing experience.
 Our idea is to create some lean-forward TV that's actually engaging."

Owens said that second-screen experiences for traditional
reality and scripted series can be limiting, but if you build interactive and
gaming features within the content, it can take the viewing experience to a
higher level.

"We're building functionality around shows,
but I think that sooner or later we may run out of sub-cultures and stories to
tell," Owens said. "We're looking to migrate the content experience beyond
just sit back TV and trying to create TV for the future that has real
interactive elements that can speak to the consumer  and have them engaged
in their living room."