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TV3 ShowPal Taking Dual Screening to Another Level

TV3’s ShowPal companion app has recently landed on our mobile devices, bringing a massive opportunity for advertisers to increase consumer engagement and take advantage of lucrative impulse purchase possibilities.

Digital audio watermarking technology will immediately ‘link’ the ShowPal app on your mobile device to the content broadcast on TV3e whether viewed live or time-shifted. In a survey conducted by Ofcom – “53% of people said they regularly multi-tasked on a second screen while watching TV, 25% admitting they regularly interact with or communicate about TV shows while watching”. For these individuals ShowPal represents a great new product that will merge social media buzz, links to related content and relevant online advertising all in one app.

On programs such as Xposé it can link to the clothing retailer’s site with the items currently on TV allowing an immediate ‘click to buy’ function, from this you can then tweet about your new purchase or share with friends on Facebook within the ShowPal app. Great news for retailers, bad news for those with an itchy trigger finger for online shopping!

While Xposé may be a program which features a lot of retail product and is a prime example for real time advertising with a ‘click to buy’ functionality, what does ShowPal offer the viewer of Champions League football or Vincent Browne?

Well, engagement, conversation and related content for a start. For pre-recorded programming such as Downton Abbey the episode has been reviewed by the content team, tagged with audio watermarks which will then at the correct time push links to Wikipedia pages about the show, IMDB profiles of the actors presently on screen, polls, social media buzz and relevant hashtags as well as mirroring the broadcast ad during the commercial break. It’s all about engagement, discussion and amplifying the user experience in an easy to use, vivid, immediate experience.

One area that I, personally, am interested to see in full flow is during Champions League football. Live programming represents an entirely new challenge for the content team. They will work to upload links and content live during the game so just wait for that first controversial penalty decision and watch the conversation explode! The content team can pre-load team sheets, Wikipedia links and other content before the game so that it can be served when little is happening of note in the match, but the unique attraction of live sport is its unpredictability and the inherent passion of the fans so it should make for interesting viewing.

For the advertiser there is a multitude of formats and approaches available for companion display ads. From running a companion ad to mimic the broadcast ad on TV which will click through to the defined URL, to taking over the activity feed sidebar during commercial break to full screen takeover, a commercial presence can be present during the very point when eyes drop to the tablet screen.

More advanced and engaged options exist by means of branded polls, quizzes & competitions as well as plug-ins to support e-commerce, live betting & bespoke games. The beauty of such deep integration is that purchases can be made and brand websites browsed while remaining in the app itself so the activity feed continues to function as a sidebar so you don’t miss any of the action.

Tags don’t merely need to be placed in direct correlation to a product being shown on screen either. Emotive tagging is also an option where by when two characters are having a deep and meaningful conversation an ad for a tea brand can be served, or a sad occasion tagged with an ad for tissues.

How effective ShowPal turns out to be with regards in-app purchasing will be interesting to see when it rolls out to the public in Q4 of 2013. However, aside from this element of its multi-faceted offering there is no doubt that it is a very intriguing new development for the TV marketplace to harness the prospective value of second screen activity while further engaging users and reducing channel migration on their TV set. I for one will be waiting eagerly to try it out once released!