Tonight we took yet another step towards Web + TV convergence and embracing the 3 screens with the premiere of ABC’s “My Generation” and its companion iPad app. The app uses sound recognition to sync with the TV broadcast and provides a flow of trivia, interactive polls, and “insider information” to augment the actual show while it’s happening. Here’s a short demo I captured of the first few minutes of the show:
After experiencing the full hour of the show, I was left with a few thoughts:
Slick user interface: The GUI/user-experience was really well done. It was clean, easy to use, and effortless. The way in which new content stacks, allowed me to easily scroll down to look back at previous content. The use of sound each time a new content module appeared was a helpful prompt so that I could watch the TV show and not stare at my iPad waiting and wondering when the next content would show up.
More and richer content: As you probably noticed from the video demo, the time intervals between content releases were much longer than I had expected. I can understand the challenge of not wanting to detract from the show itself but I was left wanting more. And while the delivery of the content was awesome, the content itself felt a bit too superficial. There’s an opportunity to really go deeper on the characters and storyline to give a true “insider’s” experience.
Is this the right genre? I, admittedly, was far more interested in the technology than the show itself. I’m not convinced that a TV drama is the best candidate for a parallel viewing experience but can absolutely see its huge potential for other genres and TV events (i.e. science/nature, game shows, home improvement, sports, variety shows, etc.)
I was also a bit surprised that the TV broadcast didn’t reference the iPad app at all which may have been a missed opportunity to help promote its usage and draw in advertisers for the 2nd screen itself.
A sign of things to come?
The power of the technology (despite a few quarks and glitches) foreshadowed a world of interactive TV experiences. I am absolutely sure over the next year, this will be just one of many multi-screen programming efforts that leverage the iPad and, soon, other tablet devices.