Friday, May 4, 2012

My Review of the Walking Dead Second Screen app built by Red Bee Media

There has been a huge amount of discussion in the trade press and blogosphere about what consumers are doing on their second screen and if they should be engaged in them at all. Certainly in this blog, we have discussed that one reason they might want to engage is to get access to more Stimulating content--everything from stats for sports fans to more detailed information about the show or even commerce opportunities.

Well the Walking Dead FX app built by Red Bee Media is certainly the most stimulating app a fan could hope for. If you are not familiar with the show, it is in essence a show about zombies and the humans who are trying to survive in a world full of them. That means lots and lots of zombies need to be killed--perhaps the attraction of the show itself. This app capitalizes on that fundamental "raison d'etre" of the show--by creating a game out of trying to predict who will kill the most zombies in a particular episode, what will be the most used weapn for the kills, and what the final kill count will be at the end of the show.

The UI is simple and clean. You have the opportunity to check out trailers, previous kills, etc, but once you click into the main portion of the app, it starts to sync via audio-based ACR (automatic content recognition) to determine what episode you are watching. It offers you choices of human killers and their weapons for the episode--and of course the kill count prediction. That's it! You then just watch the episode and as the kills unfold, the app (using audio ACR) lets you know who killed that zombie and with what weapon, and the kill count tally rises by one. A perfect combination of a passive experience (you can glance down or not as desired) that is incredibly Stimulating for the demographic of the fans of this show.

At the end of the show, your score is tallied (based on your predictions) and you are then offered the opportunity to share your prowess with your friends via Facebook and Twitter.

Does this sound like an book-end use case (ie no one is going to use it)? So far (according Broadcast Magazine), the show's live broadcast has roughly 324,000 viewers (1.2m when you count the +1 and PVR viewings).  About 20% of the live viewers (5% total viewers) of the Walking Dead in the UK have downloaded the app (63,000+ times so far) and have played the game over 340,000 times (nearly 6 times each).

Honestly, the only disappointing part of this app is that it is only available for use in the UK. I've been saying that consumers need a reason to pick up the tablet or smart phone if you want them to engage with your show--FX and Red Bee Media have certainly found a great reason for the consumer to do so.

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