Ah, the second screen! Once just a phone or a tablet, it’s become the place where TV viewers look when they’re not looking at the TV. As a result, there have been several attempts by TV networks at grabbing users’ attention on those devices. Some have rolled out their own apps, and some leaned heavily on the apps of others. Now Fox Broadcasting is doing both, by making its companion content available not only on its branded apps, but also on those from other second-screen providers.
Fox already had its own series of second-screen apps for mobile devices, called Fox Now. Those apps allowed users to sync up their mobile phone or tablet with the shows they were watching on the TV. Viewers could check out exclusive companion content that is available through the app, chat with each other — and, oh yeah, get served up related ads.
But Fox realizes that not everyone is going to download and use its app, because there are plenty of other second-screen apps that they might like better. And so, in its desire to get its companion content — and its companion ads — where the people are, the broadcasting company is launching a syndication network of second-screen content that can now be found on social TV apps from third-party developers.
Fox is now syndicating its content out to apps like Shazam, Viggle, ConnecTV, and Dijit’s NextGuide. That will give their users all the same access to behind-the-scenes and interactive content when synced up with their favorite TV shows. And ads!
On the back end, the whole thing is powered by Watchwith, which provides a platform for syncing up companion content with shows as they are broadcast in realtime. With a dashboard for creating and managing syndicated content, Watchwith enables networks to easily distribute their content to their own apps, as well as those from third parties. It does that with a set of APIs specifically built to enable syncing of mobile and other connected devices to the content on screen.
Watchwith had previously been tapped to enable the same sort of functionality for a number of app experiences for NBC Universal networks, including Bravo, USA Network, and SyFy. But getting Fox on board will provide a great deal of validation for the company.