The television and film industry has always been a bit of mystery to me. It seems to me that people have ideas for programmes, write them up and convince someone in a studio to do a pilot. Then they take that pilot and shop it around some distributors and if they get a bite then that convinces the studio to make the rest of the production. Or something. (And yes, I’d love to hear something from people who make television or films to clarify the process)
To be honest, I find it hard to engage 100% with television or movies. I am one of the Tri-Screen Viewers. When watching television, I am also faced by my MacBook Pro/iPad/iPhone. The experience of viewing is enhanced by the presence of these additional screens. Whether I’m hitting IMDB or Wikipedia, the addition of this information source really improves the experience of viewing television. Adding Twitter into the mix creates an interactive medium which changes the whole viewing experience. This has proven to me that television is not a dead medium and there is certainly some traction by integrating social media and relevant tangents to increase viewership.
According to new forecasts from ABI Research, the estimated 19% of flat panel TVs shipping with Ethernet in 2010 will grow to 46% in 2013 – Digitimes
But tonight I’m sitting in our new family room and there’s some nonsense on the box. On Twitter and on some of the other television channels, the world is discussing the current UK election. The polling stations closed half an hour ago and the count has begun.
What I want is a channel-based app, not a company-based app. I want the BBC1 app to contain information on what is on right now. This means when I’m watching BBC1, I launch the app and it not only gives me the option to watch the content live, a la TVCatchup, embedded in the page but also hooks me into Twitter feeds via pre-determined hashtags and provides links to relevant web sites which render ‘in-page’. Tonight it would be displaying the cool election infographics live and while I’m watching Doctor Who, it would show me links to the Tardis Wiki and embed information culled from the continuity about the Weeping Angels or River Song. And the same for BBC2 when I’m watching Wonders of the Solar System or Brian Cox’ new series, Universal (coming not soon enough!), displaying information about Mercury or Pluto or Alpha Centauri. It will allow me to tweet from within the app and it’ll tag my tweets appropriately.
Channel 4 report that web site hits start on Embarrassing Illnesses before the programme ends. There is appetite for this sort of programming and yes, the iPad (and other tablets to come) are the perfect vehicle for this sort of entertainment. And building this sort of thing in HTML5 will mean everyone can view it.
This is the 360° play. It’s not just about building the web site. It’s not just about putting together an iPhone app in support of the programme, it’s about taking advantage of the programming, making the best of the schedule. You know what is on BBC1, you know when shows will be broadcast, you have legions of people who will help you generate the content. You know they’ll be watching, you know they’ll be online and you can help make them watch the programming when it is broadcast rather than time-shifting it by adding in the most compelling content: the social context.
Repeat for all the channels. Give me what I want. I will pay for this.