The BBC has been engaging viewers with companion experiences for years with BBC Online and the interactive TV service BBC Red Button. But after a couple closed tests with shows Secret Fortune and Frozen Planet, the UK broadcaster is planning to launch several second-screen experiences starting with the popular show, Antiques Roadshow in September.
“Over the course of the next year, we’ll be piloting companion experiences around a handful of our program titles, to explore the key features and functions that genuinely make watching great TV an even better experience,” explains Victoria Jaye, head of IPTV and TV Online Content. “We want to drive mainstream take-up, so we’ll look to pilot experiences that appeal to more traditional TV audiences, as well as tap into the entertainment needs of audiences more at home with companion activity.”
Jaye said the BBC team learned a lot from the closed pilots. With Secret Fortune, fans played along with the TV quiz show on their devices. “Audiences felt highly connected to the show, thinking and behaving as if they were contestants in the studio, which was further heightened by the tactile selection of answers on their mobile and tablet screens,” she said. With Frozen Planet, a nature show (above), viewers were shown addition information about the animals and their habits in sync with the broadcast. In a novel feature, viewers could “favorite” something on the second screen to consume it later.
For Antiques Roadshow (above), the BBC is creating a second-screen experience that lets viewers play along in sync with the show, estimating the value of the antique item before the answer is revealed on air. “If viewers need help in their valuation, they can see what others playing along are estimating using the ‘Ask the Nation’ function. At the end of each episode, audiences receive their final score, and find out how they ranked compared to the nation,” explains Jaye.
The app will also serve up additional content, enabling viewers to explore featured antiques in the show and learn more about the stories behind them. As the BBC learned with the Frozen Planet test, Antique Roadshow viewers will be able to “favorite” this content during the show to consume it later, instead of diverting their attention during the broadcast.
“As more and more internet connected devices enter the living room, we can extend entertainment beyond broadcast and the TV screen, bringing our shows to life for audiences in ever more exciting ways,” Jaye says.
The second-screen experience will be available across smart phones, PC, and tablet devices. A version of the play along will also be available on BBC Red Button.