Why Mobile TV Isn’t Necessarily Mobile
Clearly Orange have read Juniper’s recent press release announcing that by 2014 more than 240 million smartphone users will stream TV to their phones because this week they launched a new social TV service in the UK called TVcheck. This app has a number of interesting features, most clever of which is its ability to detect which show you are watching using the phone’s camera and notify your friends via social networking sites. This only works if you watch at the time of broadcast but nevertheless, it is still impressive as Orange say that it will work on any of the top 25 free-to-air channels. The app will also allow users to take part in quizzes, earn badges and interact with other people talking about a programme on Twitter and Facebook. TVcheck taps into the social trend, allowing users to interact with their friends via social networking (if not the people actually watching with them!) and further immerse themselves in the experience of watching. Of course, this sort of social experience can only happen when people watch a particular show at the same time – anyone timeshifting won’t be able to take part for fear of seeing ‘spoilers’. This kind of app will work very well for shows such as talent shows that already have a significant number of people ‘live-tweeting’, that is tweeting during the shows broadcast. We already know that live-tweeting is popular – Will.i.am has even been caught on camera tweeting during the live recording of The Voice. Orange aren’t alone in trying to move into the social TV space, in February ABC released an app which allowed fans of Grey’s Anatomy to interact with the show in real time using the shows audio watermark to ensure that content is offered at the correct point in the show. This means that the app can be used even if the user timeshifts their viewing. The Grey’s Anatomy Sync app offers users content such as quizzes, trivia and production details. It also gives marketers another platform from which to advertise to the user – indeed, in the Grey’s Anatomy Sync app, adverts from the app sponsor Lexus are shown. It is clear that this is the shape of things to come and that social has a place even where users are becoming their own schedulers and watching content at a time and a place that suits them. So is mobile TV always mobile? Well, for those of us watching the big screen for the action and using a tablet to access the gossip, it doesn’t have to be.