The days when TV viewers did nothing else while watching their favorite shows are long over. Instead, many viewers now multitask while watching TV and browse the Internet on their laptops, iPads and smartphones. Now, a new iPad app from ABC (iTunes link) wants to bridge this gap and turns the iPad into an interactive companion to the TV network’s new “My Generation” series (a fake documentary) that will make its debut next week. The app uses the iPad’s microphone to listen for audio cues from the TV and then displays relevant interactive content as every episode progresses.
While this is currently just an experiment focused on one show, it’s not hard to image that TV networks could turn to similar apps for all of their programming.
The free My Generation Sync app will give users the ability to interact with the show by taking quizzes, for example. Viewers will also be able to access behind the scenes footage and bios of the show’s characters. In addition, the app will also allow them to connect with other fans in real-time.
An App that Listens to Your TV
The app was developed on top of Nielsen’s Media-Sync technology and uses the iPad’s microphone to sync up with the show by listening for audio cues embedded in the show. Thanks to this, the app will also work when you are watching a time-delayed version of the show on your DVR, for example. The app will also display a limit set of information when it isn’t synced with the show. For the full experience, though, users will need to use the app in parallel with the show.
Overall, this looks like a very interesting experiment. Even though it is currently limited to just one show, it will be interesting to see if other networks will launch similar apps. These apps will allow TV networks to draw viewers deeper into the show, while also getting them to focus more on ads (the networks have to make money after all). At the same time, this will also give the networks new analytics and a better idea of who their viewers are.
Will You Use these Apps?
Can you see yourself using apps like this? Do you want your iPad to stay in sync with the show you watch, or will you continue browsing the Web while watching the show instead of waiting for interactive content to show up on your iPad?