With Netflix touting more than a trillion possible permutations for its first grown-up stab at an interactive movie, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, there’s a lot to unravel.Netflix has been making interactive choose-your-own-adventure videos for more than a year, but Bandersnatch is the first that isn’t a cartoon for kids. The interactivity is simple: A or B choices that branch the plot. But Bandersnatch gives the model a self-referential spin by building the story around a choose-your-own-adventure novel. Netflix press materials note the movie has “five main endings, with multiple variants of each.” Discussions on Black Mirror subreddit, Discord and social media have tried untangling the knot. The pathways can be so convoluted that Netflix has nudged viewers to find scenes that few have uncovered weeks after the movie’s premiere. In fact, Netflix said that of the five main endings, one in which Stefan follows his mother onto the train remains the most hidden, with the fewest number of viewers taking that path. The company has shared that 73 percent of viewers chose for Stefan to accept Tuckersoft’s job offer, and that British viewers were slightly less inclined to spill tea than viewers in the rest of the world. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings dropping important financial disclosures during the company’s earnings call. Screenshot by Joan E. Solsman/CNET Netflix CEO Reed Hastings even broke into the company’s earnings discussion in January to disclose that 73 percent of Bandersnatch viewers chose Frosties over Sugar Puffs. After two relatively inconsequential interactions about cereal and music, the story starts to offer crucial choices that take you to different plot points or assign attributes to your account that determine what choices you may see in the future. These determine the possible passwords you can enter into the locked cabinet in Stefan’s dad’s office, and they influence the options for how to respond when Stefan calls out “Give me a sign!” when he’s grappling with the idea that somebody is controlling him.Whatever Netflix defines as an “ending” to add up to “five main endings” isn’t really clear, but here are some of the permutations and endings that viewers have mapped out:You choose for Stefan to work with Tuckersoft. Backed by a team, the game is a messy failure with a zero-out-of-five rating. After watching the game review on TV, Stefan yells out that he wants to try again and you loop back with the opportunity to reject Tuckersoft’s offer instead. Stefan jumps from Colin’s balcony, and the game is published after the “tragic accident” without getting a rating. You’re eventually forced to have Stefan discuss his mother’s death with Dr. Haynes. You take the pills that Dr. Haynes prescribes. The game is published but with Stefan’s madness under control, it’s a failure with a zero-out-of-five rating. But hey, nobody dies this time!When Stefan calls out for whoever is controlling him to give him a “sign,” if you choose Netflix, the story takes a meta turn where you either end up with Stefan laughing maniacally as he’s dragged out of the building or Stefan facing a reality where he’s actually on a movie shoot, much to his confusion. When Stefan explores his father’s locked study, if he enters the passcode TOY on the file cabinet and then chooses to leave with his mother to board the train that derails and kills her, Stefan dies in the present day in his therapist’s office because of a timeline paradox. When Stefan calls out for whoever is controlling him to give him a “sign,” if you choose PAC, Stefan learns about a government conspiracy, kills his father and ends up in prison after calling Dr. Haynes’ office; the Bandersnatch game is released with a 2.5 star-rating. When Stefan calls out for whoever is controlling him to give him a “sign,” if you chose the little glyph that Bandersnatch novel author Jerome F. Davies painted all over his walls, then Stefan ends up in prison without Bandersnatch ever being released. Various choices determine whether Stefan ends up in prison after seeing (or sometimes killing) Colin, Tucker, or Colin’s girlfriend Kitty. If you choose to make Stefan chop up his dad’s body, Bandersnatch is released to acclaim with a five-out-of-five rating, but a present-day news report explains the game was pulled after Stefan was imprisoned for murder. A report describes how Colin’s daughter, the baby Pearl that viewers meet briefly during the trip to Colin’s apartment, is a game programmer who wants to revive Bandersnatch. She encounters a bug similar to the one Stefan does, and your choice about whether she destroys her computer or pours tea on it seems to loop you back to earlier points in the story. The interactive story seems to eventually force some choices. No matter how much I tried to avoid talking about Stefan’s mother with the therapist Dr. Haynes, eventually I had no choice but to hear Stefan hash out his mommy issues. And no matter how many times I just wanted to bury Stefan’s dad instead of (gag) chopping up his body, the story eventually just went to repeat loops until I agreed to dismemberment. (Of course, the grisliest choice led to the Bandersnatch game getting the highest possible critical rating…) Protagonist Stefan (left) interacts differently with his game programming hero, Colin (center), and Tuckersoft CEO Tucker (right) depending on the choices you make. Netflix But the way that movie’s interactivity is set up, it also seems that after you’ve followed the course of a few of the endings, it’ll keep prompting you to return to certain choice points that are crucial to unlocking parts of the story you haven’t seen yet. It also seems that you get different endings presented as the “official” end — with video vignettes interspersed into the end credits like other linear episodes often do — depending on where you arrive around the 90-minute mark. And there are sideways trips that the story can take depending on various factors. Sometimes when you choose to pick up the book before Stefan goes to sleep, he dreams that he breaks his bathroom mirror when he touches it. Other times, if you choose to pick up the book, he dreams that he can reach through the mirror to travel back in time. Netflix’s UK and Ireland Twitter account teased viewers on Jan. 8 by suggesting they have Stefan “try picking up the family photo, ~twice~.” That might not be a hard science as our particular playthrough required selecting the photo three times. This will trigger a scene where Stefan is working in his room and suddenly Jerome F. Davies appears before stabbing Stefan in the chest. Stefan will then wake up, the attack being an apparent dream, and the story will continue. Picking up the book to read can unlock different elements depending on previous answers. Netflix/Black Mirror You can also unlock different nightmares (or realities?) depending on the password you enter into the father’s locked file cabinet. TOY seems to be the only way to get to the ending where Stefan dies in his present-day therapist’s office because you choose for him to join his mother on the train in the past. PAC explains a government conspiracy that’s experimenting on and surveilling Stefan, while JFD and PAX give you some creepy jump scares. There’s also a post-credits scene where Stefan listens to his Walkman but instead of hearing music he hears digital noise. Discussion on Reddit says that decoding the sound results in a QR code that leads to a separate online Easter egg. Some viewers have speculated that some elements of the story are chosen at random, a little chaos purposely inserted to drive everyone crazy who attempts to flowchart all the different narrative branches. And there are additional Easter eggs sprinkled outside the video as well. A website for Tuckersoft, the gaming company in the movie, has a landing page that looks like something you’d load with an AOL dial-up connection. Its job recruitment page is styled like a 1980s magazine ad, with actor Asim Chaudhry’s Mohan Tucker pictured. And the Tuckersoft game that Colin is developing when he first meets Stefan — Nohzdyve, an early allusion to the trip off the balcony that Colin and/or Stefan can take later in some Bandersnatch plot branches — is available to play through an emulator. Mike Sorrentino contributed to this story. Editors’ note: This story was first published Dec. 28, 2018 and is updated as more Bandersnatch pathways are discovered. 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Liberty Global has posted solid subscriber growth of 314,000 customers in its first quarterly earnings report since its absorption of Virgin Media, while the latter’s TiVo advanced TV product attracted 165,000 new customers, taking its penetration to 49% of the company’s base of 3.8 million TV customers. Liberty Global’s Horizon advanced TV product meanwhile had attracted a total of 365,000 subscribers in the countries in which it has launched by the end of September, including 200,000 in the Netherlands, 30,000 in Switzerland, 30,000 in Ireland and 25,000 in Germany.The international cable group had 24.5 million customers at the end of the third quarter, with RGUs growing by 316,000, a rate of growth 64% up on the second quarter, driven by a strong performance in central and eastern Europe – particularly due to new bundled offering sin Hungary and Romania – Belgium and the UK.Liberty Global had 21.8 million TV, 14.1 million broadband and 11.9 million fixed telephony customers at the end of the quarter, reflecting a loss of 53,000 TV customers and additions of 214,000 broadband and 153,000 telephony customers.While Virgin Media lost 8,000 pay TV subscribers in the period, the UK company’s cable customers total grew by 14,000 to 4.9 million. Broadband customers grew by 30,000, with 30Mbps-plus services attracting 250,000 new customers.Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries said that the company now expected to double the synergies of its acquisition of the UK cable operator from the original estimate of US$180 million (€133 million). Liberty Global is also expected to receive a €750 million boost in the first quarter of next year from its sale of Chellomedia to AMC.Liberty Global posted revenues of US$4.4 billion for the quarter, up 74% thanks to the inclusion of Virgin Media. The company’s financials were also boosted by positive foreign currency movements and organic growth. Operating cash flow grew by 63% to US$2 billion, thanks in large part to the inclusion of Virgin Media which itself saw limited cash flow growth. Combined cash flow growth for the first nine months of the year would have been 5%.Liberty Global posted a loss of US$821.6 million for the quarter, against a loss of US$5.8 million the previous year, due to losses on derivative instruments.
The BBC reported a record-breaking 3.5 billion TV and radio programme requests on the iPlayer in 2014, with mobile and tablet traffic driving much of the growth. Traffic to the online catch-up service broke down to 2.6 billion TV requests and more than 860 million radio requests across all devices, according to official BBC stats, with the 3.5 billion total up from 3.1 billion in 2013.Traffic from tablets was up 51% year-on-year at 801 million requests, while mobile views climbed by 32% to 662 million requests. The BBC also reported a 13% year-on-year increase in requests from connected TVs at 626 million.On mobile, drama Murdered By My Boyfriend on youth network BBC Three topped the chart for 2014, with 1.1m requests on mobile devices alone. The most popular shows on tablets were Sherlock, Top Gear and comedy Outnumbered. BBC thriller The Missing topped the list of most-watched programmes on connected TVs with 1.22 million requests, followed closely by Happy Valley with 1.16 million requests.Overall for the year, the most watched show on the iPlayer was the first episode of the latest series of Sherlock with 4.19 million requests in total. The rest of the top five was made up of three episodes of Top Gear and another episode of Sherlock.Elsewhere, the BBC reported strong numbers for its iPlayer originals content, with its Original Comedy Shorts attracting 1.9 million requests and Original Drama shorts 1.2m requests.Ralph Rivera, director of BBC Future Media said: “2014 was a great year for iPlayer – with a record-breaking 3.5 billion programme requests, a brand-new version of iPlayer launched and the extension of the catch-up window from seven to 30 days. We’re looking forward to bringing fans even more in 2015.”