I thought Lost Remote did a great job summarizing their experience yesterday. Not surprisingly, mine was very similar. After finishing my mini-focus group with the neighbors, I headed to a quiet living room where I could test Umami's new features, give Viggle and ConnecTV another go, test the (now) classics of BuddyTV, Yap.TV and TVplus, and see if the much marketed change in IntoNow would stack up. I have to admit, similar to my red carpet experience and despite the apps continuously crashing, I kept coming back to the official ABC Oscar app because it had unique content (the multiple and selectable camera angles).
First things first, like I said in my previous blog, I liked the concepts in the ABC official Oscars app, I just hated the poor app quality. I voted 3 different times before the votes actually 'saved' in the app. It crashed continually. It had poor Social features. But the exclusive and selectable camera angles made me keep coming back.
Umami had some interesting new features to crow about. The trending Twitter indication was interesting (but for consumers, probably less so). The Freeze Frame app was a cool way to share content (though I suspect as yet unapproved by content creators). Essentially, you hit a button and the magic server in the cloud snaps a picture (I am assuming this only works for live TV and not even time shifted east coast / west coast TV). If you could get the photo right, it was pretty cool.
I still love TVplus's implementation of synchronized content events. They have the right mix of timing and variety. I just wish they made more effective use of the middle third of the screen (from a UI perspective, not so great). The sync-ing worked great every time I tried it and I enjoyed seeing what they had to say.
I still don't get Viggle. I know they are well-funded, but as a consumer, I am still struggling. The app let you play along with a trivia question every 45 seconds, and you earned points for playing. Why? If the advertiser needs to know I am connected, aren't their more passive ways to do that? Seems like a waste of consumer engagement (not to be taken lightly). While it was cool seeing what others picked and if I was right or wrong, I still ask, WHY?
ConnecTV? It did better. The room was VERY quiet and the audio sync'd successfully 3 of 4 attempts. It was the first time the "synchronized" content did not appear random (though based on some DVR pauses, I don't think it was synchronized but just tied to the current real-time moment). I still don't like the advertising engagement (not in synch with the TV) or the use of real state from a UI perspective.
IntoNow surprised me by having a relatively cool feature. They showed recent photos of the red carpet and the Oscars and asked for a like or no-like, and then shared the rating of other users with you. Very much the "Social Networking Hot or Not" example from the movie. I actually think their Twitter feed implementation is better, though still needs curation and time-syncing. The massive real-estate to display who else is using the app seems odd at best.
Yap.tv hasn't changed much. Very much the social-only app, but I have to say that having the Twitter feed literally fly by is not a great experience.
Miso? No comment.
My conclusion: 1st party apps (ABC Oscars) are falling prey to the standard development pitfalls. I think there is a better strategy here for content creators/distributors to give the Stimulating content to a few trusted (and well implemented) consumer apps that can aggregate traffic to support their brand rather than botching up the experience themselves.
I also think the existence of so many attempts is indicative of one more thing: whether mass market yet or not, the networks and advertisers THINK the market is ready for them.