TV is getting a lot more interactive thanks to some new mobile device integrations. One of the most popular, a mobile app called zeebox that integrates content with television programs, has just reached the five million download milestone.
The app is one of several efforts being made to strengthen the union between mobile devices and the TV medium. Smartphone and tablet use is already common among many consumers while watching television. By producing new content accessible only through a mobile device — and only when watching a certain show — marketers can reach consumers in new ways while keeping their attention throughout a show.
Several major partnerships with television and cable companies has allowed zeebox to flourish, but many other apps — including some apps produced by the television shows and channels themselves — are already working to increase their visibility and engagement with viewers.
Cross-Promoting to Increase Followings
One of the reasons TV and mobile app integration works so well is that the two components lift one another up. Television can be used to promote mobile products, including interactive mobile apps. Meanwhile, those mobile apps deepen a viewer’s investment in the show while exposing them to additional marketing materials.
Many of the bonus features available on mobile devices, such as cast member Q&As, deleted scenes and outtakes, can be produced at a low cost to the TV show or channel.
Interactive games are also proving successful. In a recent episode of NBC’s Community, viewers used their devices to play an interactive bingo game with the show. A bingo card was filled out with different phrases from the show, and viewers had 10 seconds after the dialogue was spoken to tap the respective box on their bingo card. As a result, the mobile experience and TV viewing were motivated by one another while being engaged simultaneously.
Embracing the Social Component
One other big way smartphone and tablet use bolsters TV performances is by equipping the apps with social media capabilities. In the case of the Community episode, users were able to promote their Bingo results on Twitter and other social media, thereby promoting both the mobile app and the show itself.
In television, where a devoted viewership is the life force of any successful program, that strengthened relationship is an important asset. By heavily integrating different promotional venues, companies can use mobile usage to increase interactivity, social sharing and organic advertising at an incredible value. Expect more mobile apps to follow in zeebox’s footsteps.
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