This one-hour video highlights how some television companies sync their TV content with apps downloaded on a mobile. If you don’t have time to watch it right now, I’ve got some highlights below, and a tip on how to make it work for your audience:
The most popular new app technology that syncs a handheld with a TV show is* Nielsen’s Media Sync*. This technology created buzz last February when ABC launched its Grey’s Anatomy app, where users were encouraged to open the app while watching the episode.
How it works
Using Nielsen’ audio watermark, which embeds audio triggers throughout a TV show to gather Nielsen television ratings, show content can be picked up by the microphones on smartphones to launch episode-specific activities, such as behind the scene footage, polls, and other additional content.
The video above shows two different examples of the application, and it does present a lot of opportunities to allow your audience to easily interact with the content, which is important because Yahoo! reported in January 2011 that 86% use their mobile while watching television.
How to Make this Work for Your TV Show
To make an app like this work with your TV show means considering the user experience and providing value for the interactivity.
This type of application seems like a natural fit for sporting events or live reality shows, but what can be accomplished to engage the user of a dramatic series like Grey’s Anatomy beyond providing trivia and poll questions?
As this technology grows, content creators and TV producers need to understand how the content they put into this application will be used by the user, and identify what will make their viewers want to participate each time the show is broadcast.
Producers and broadcasters must also be willing to admit when this type of interactivity may not be a natural fit for their TV program. To maximize this potential (or recognize its usefulness early), it’s important to consider the content implications during the development and scriptwriting phase, in order to properly exploit its opportunities. By engaging in this technology at the earliest stage, there are opportunities to create your own audio watermarks to make the audience do something with their iPad and create a truly interactive experience.