Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Oscars and Second Screen

I am not sure how you felt about the Oscars, but while the show was entertaining, I felt like there was a seriously missed opportunity between how the brands were advertising and how social media and second screen was being used.

Similar to my Super Bowl experiment last month, I setup multiple tablets around the living room and kitchen (5 this time) for the 20 or so guests who came to watch the Oscars.  Similar to previous experiments, I spent the first hour of the red carpet helping people in the room either navigate the various apps (which I tried to do by having different apps running on different tablets) and helping them understand what they were looking at.  Once they had their feet wet, the audience quickly decided what they liked and didn't like abut the experiences.  For example, for the red carpet experience, they preferred the E! Entertainment video coverage on the first and second screen, but for the actual Oscars, they preferred the Official Oscars app with its multiple camera feeds and the Twitter heat map from zeebox.  As the night moved on,  the tablets in the kitchen ended up in the living room, and in the end, the "favorite" camera feeds and visuals (Twitter heat map) became permanent fixtures on the coffee table (being picked up by various guests every few minutes).

In my previous blog, I promised to run through a laundry list of apps and to comment on the debate of "special purpose" vs. "multi-function" in terms of UX (user experience).  The results:
  • For the Red Carpet, E! Live from the Red Carpet was the preferred experience by far, but they fell short of a good user experience.  Some of the people in the room had used the same app last year at the Oscars and on other Red Carpet events and were upset that the navigation to find photos of the dresses was difficult and changed during the show (literally).
  • For the actual Oscars show, the preferred app was the official Oscars app because of the multiple camera feeds, though zeebox was a very close runner-up, with guests preferring the simplicity of the zeetags and the ability to quickly look up an actor profile or trailer of a movie (though the experience of how the zeetags launched into IMDB was not a good one--took too long to load, was a different and very confusing/busy UI, etc).  The Twitter heat map from zeebox (full screen mode) was probably the most preferred method of monitoring social media.  The "stars" list of Tweets was enjoyed, but the "public" list was too random and too busy to be of much use.
  • One of the biggest complaints across the board was the voting app experience.  Presumably, the order of the awards was known ahead of time, but with every app experience tried, my guests complained that they had to hunt for their choice because the voting was kept in an order that made sense when you voted but did not follow the order presented on the telecast.  
  • Official Oscars app.  Liked the camera feeds, liked some of the photos.  Most popular voting mechanism (sharing on Facebook and Twitter).
  • zeebox.  Becoming a familiar UI to the users (was the favorite app during the Super Bowl).  Twitter heat map, zeetags and a Twitter feed "from stars" were all very popular.
  • Viggle.  They carried 122k active users on the day out of their nearly 2m registered users.  However, we tried the app at least 4 different times and while it easily recognized what we were watching, we were told (by the app) that it was a "limited seating" event and we could check later.  Odd marketing approach.  
  • TOK Oscars.  A similar approach to the Super Bowl which was great if you were watching the event physically alone or with only a few people, trying to connect to a friend elsewhere.  However, the graphics were not developed the way they had been for sports (ie up to date visuals).  I like the concept of the application though, it just needs more feature development.
  • Voting apps (The Race, Heroes, etc).  Did not get much attention because of the order problem.  Most of the guests ended up using the voting feature in the official Oscars app.  Ironically, The Race closed voting about an hour before the show started, while the other apps kept it open until the last minute.
  • ConnecTV.  I am still trying to figure out the UI here--seems to be an uber social feed (combining Twitter and many other feeds).  I miss the old UI.
  • Shazam.  Did a great job of identifying what I was watching, but beyond telling me what music was in the show, did not offer much of a companion experience.
  • IMDB.  Had a ton of information for the Oscars and seemed like the right place to go for trailers and actor lookups, but the UI was too busy and too confusing and lost most of the guests interest very early.
  • GetGlue.  Check-in worked, but there was not much offered in a companion experience beyond that.
  • IntoNow.  Similarly enabled easy check-in, and the CapIt feature was very, very intriguing to guests.  During a few lulls (commercials, short film awards), guests were reviewing the various CapIts and really enjoyed the comedy--but when they wanted to create their own of the same early moment, they found they could only create a new post on current TV--which was a disappointment.  There is something there on engagement though that should be developed.
  • Yap.tv.  Strong showing on the social and trivia side, but lost the battle pretty early to zeebox.
"Special purpose" vs. "Multi-function".  Unlike the Super Bowl, I think the "exclusive" content for the Oscars app and the E! Live from the Red Carpet app won the day, with zeebox pulling a close 2nd.  However, the UI simplicity and familiarity of zeebox was its biggest draw--something both "special purpose" apps need to develop further.


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