Just been playing with the BBC Antiques Roadshow app, “the BBC’s first ever live, synchronous smartphone app”. It allows users to play a multiple choice valuation game while the show is being aired. The companion mobile app “uses inaudible signals embedded in the soundtrack of the programme, which are picked up by the microphone of a smartphone or tablet.”
When the app was announced by Victoria Jaye, the BBC’s head of IPTV and TV Online Content, she said: “It’s a great example of how we can creatively renew our audiences’ enjoyment of watching a much cherished BBC programme.”
While enhancing audience enjoyment is a noble sentiment, here are three further reasons why TV broadcasters should be creating second screen companion apps for their programmes:
a) Attention. TV audiences are increasingly distracted, a recent report found that, “even among those respondents with just a television and computer, 52% report that it’s somewhat or very likely that they’re using another device while watching television”. If the audience is going to be looking at a second screen while viewing your programmes, it makes sense to attempt to occupy that second screen too.
b) Deeper audience engagement with programmes. After playing the Antiques Roadshow app, players can then “Explore our top finds >”
c) Structuring and initiating conversations around programmes. For example, the Antiques Roadshow app scoring game is against the clock, which may help to maintain and focus audience conversation around the programme.