As penetration and usage increases every month, executive producers and networks are adding better user-experiences in the competitive world of social TV companion apps.
Bec Haagsma, Director of Convergence, at Nine / Microsoft-owned Mi9 says this week’s State of Origin will show-off Jump-in’s best features. Origin fans will have the choice of 16 different camera angles to watch replays. This was made available to fans for the first Origin game last month, pulling in 132,014 app visits with 113,747 camera views on iPad. With Origin 2 these will also be available on iPhones.
“You can watch a try or a bit of biff from 16 different camera angles. It’s a real linking from the technology that the TV broadcaster provides and it feeds straight into the app,” she says.
“Sport is perfect because there’s so many different cameras set up. But I think you’ll see going into the next calendar year that with some of the Reality shows we’ll work with the technology guys over at Nine to really see how we can use that to give viewers a different choice or a different angle.”
Nine’s Jump-in launched for the London Olympics with a TV Guide and Olympic extras but there was minimal content around Nine shows. Since a re-launch earlier this year, more content has been added for Nine shows. After the last State of Origin the Jump-in app was number one in the Australian App Store across all categories for iPad and was number one on iPhone in the Entertainment category and number five overall for iPhone downloads.
“We launched the app around the Olympics but we didn’t have content for other shows. We ‘hero-ed’ the TV Guide because all the data feeds through the Guide,” Haagsma explains.
“Then we started to build the relationships with Nine and their EPs and they started to use the second-screen more. Now we have so much TV content that when you launch it on the iPad it launches on the features page and you can flip to the TV Guide, rather than it being the hero.
“We have big plans to link the Guide to a whole bunch of different functions as well. It’s fair to say we were surprised by how much it’s used.”
Nine’s Jump-in has had to ‘compete’ with Seven’s FANGO, the first in the marketplace, and the independent and international brand, Zeebox which has affiliations with TEN / Foxtel / ABC.
“FANGO does a pretty good job of ‘game-ification’ and social stuff on Seven. Zeebox is certainly a beautiful user experience and does a good job of ‘what’s on TV now.’ Jump-in’s place, and it’s really cemented with Origin, is if you love a show you can go in and spend a lot of the time with the show that you love,” she says.
So far Jump-in has had 225,000 downloads -but Haagsma agrees that a better performance measure is in returning visits.
“I always quote downloads because everybody asks for them, but it’s actually about return visits. If we get 200,000 downloads and only 1,000 are coming back then what’s the point?” she asks.
“But the return visits and usage are high enough for us to keep investing in this product.
“The Block is double what it was in the All Stars season as people become more familiar with using their second-screen.”
A recent Deloitte State of the Media Survey of 2000 “online Australians” found that 63 per cent of users ranked live TV in their top three leisure pursuits. But are the numbers representative of broader Australian use, or just those who are already connected to online use?
Haagsma says the industry is still learning about the ways different ages are engaging with second-screens on different devices.
“My 16 year old daughter is on Twitter when she watches something. My 50 year old husband is absolutely on something we would call a second-screen looking at Origin stats and saying ‘Thank god I finally know why Greg Inglis isn’t running away with the game, he’s only made 4 tackles,'” she says.
“And my 9 year old said ‘Can you get something on Jump-in so I can see which Block couple has won which challenge so I know which couple has won the most amount of money?’ And I thought ‘good idea!’”
Jump-in plans to add more full catch-up television after July and a responsive web version in early 2014 for Android users.
Right now the focus is on getting the platform right on i0S with more and more content and a greater depth of experience to complement what’s on the box.
“It’s about something that we all come together to watch at the same time. A Voice finale, a Block finale, Big Brother will have some great stuff happening on Jump-in,” says Haagsma.
“It’s still such a new space. I think until we all figure out what our objective is then we will continue to run in this way. We will certainly build on the experience and create a lot more platforms. I think we will have to see what the users choose.
“All of us are just making sure we’re in the space and having a go and learning about our users. The EPs at every network are learning about how to reach their audience in a different way.”
Top ten shows by visits and page views in June:
1. State of Origin – Game One
2. The Block Sky High
3. NRL Footy Show
4. A Current Affair
5. The Voice
6. The Big Bang Theory
7. House Husbands
9. Celebrity Apprentice
10. 60 Minutes