Sunday, February 26, 2012

Watching the Red Carpet for the Oscars with Second Screen

When will second screen be mass market?  Bill Baxter tried to answer that at the 2nd Screen Summit last week in his keynote.  This experience might answer it in a more empirical manner.

You wouldn't believe the abuse I have taken over the past few months from some of my unbelieving neighbors who have constantly told me that they want to watch their TV show or movie and not have any of it distracted with a tablet or laptop.

For today's big event, I offered to join the girls briefly while they watched to get some live feedback (of the naysayers), but they rebuffed me with great laughter.  While I was reviewing the apps, I sent a few pics to their iPhones just to show them what they were missing.  I was quickly invited down the street to share the iPad experience with them.

It was actually a great experience to see the naysayers (pictured above) convert so quickly into real enthusiasts.  They were quickly pulling the iPad on to the coffee table so that everyone could see the various camera angles from the ABC Official Oscars app and the arrival photos from the E! Live from the Red Carpet app.

Let's start with the ABC Official Oscars app:

  • I received a ton of comments about the poor nature of the ABC app during the week.  It was crashing for people, not well designed, etc.  I was eager to check it out tonight.
  • The ability to see multiple camera angles during the red carpet the was a very cool feature and my focus group subjects spent most of their on it.
  • The app did crash quite a bit.  Really.
  • I did try the voting feature.  3 times.  It wiped out my entries for 2 of the attempts.
  • The orientation of the app was quite frankly bizarre.  The iPhone version stayed in landscape 90% of the time.  The iPad app stayed in portrait 95% of the time.  Seems very, very backwards.
  • I was not a fan of the Twitter feed implementation.  Too official.

  • They missed the opportunity to have a live, synchronized experience (think TVplus).  My test subjects constantly asked why they couldn't see a link the various actors, know about the dress, the dress maker, etc.
  • Simple-none.  Social-low.  Stimulating-high.  Seamless-none.  Discovery-none.
  • But, in the end, having access to the other camera feeds for the Red Carpet still made the app indispensable.

And the E! Entertainment Live from the Red Carpet app:
  • The 360 Glam Cam was certainly very missed.
  • The arrival photos were great, though the app did crash suddenly quite a bit while trying to flip through them and there was no easy ways to see new ones without exiting that feature and going back into it.
  • There were great news links (near live blog-like posts).
  • There was also a very interesting shopping experience that is likely a hit for those watching this online a few days later.
  • The Twitter experience was ok, but not great.
  • Simple-none.  Social-medium.  Seamless-none.  Stimulating-high.  Discovery-none.

If I had to pick between one app or the other, it would be a hard choice.  Neither of them are great across the classic features we think about when reviewing these apps like Social or Simple (including stability), but both of them have access to Stimulating content that just can't be overcome by other apps' classic quality features.  Live video feeds from multiple angles that are selectable by the viewer and fashion review assets (photos and in theory the glam cam) are what really counted and enabled the test subjects (and myself) to tolerate the other feature weaknesses.

Oh yeah, and are these kinds of experiences mass market yet?  Just ask my neighbors, some of which who don't even have a DVR, what they plan to do for the next Red Carpet event.

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