It seems as if I can’t go a single day without reading yet another dumbshit article about ‘second screen’ initiatives and the cringe-inducing ‘social TV’ moniker paraded around ad nauseum. Yet throughout all the so-called innovation, vanity metrics spewed about, and proclamations about the fundamental shifts in media consumption, I get the sense that no one has actually consulted with real fucking people whatsoever.
I admit that there’s definitely an hockey stick-like upswing in tablet and smartphone usage while sitting in front of the boob tube, but as I’ve satirized before, folks are rarely doing so to interact exclusively with this television programming. It’s e-mail. Facebook. Instagram. Essentially ubiquitous platforms of general purpose.
Sure, some activity will be tied specifically to the on-screen content, but much of which will not at all. That’s why these ‘walled garden’ apps are destined for the digital scrap heap.
It sounds like common sense to me, but apparently television executives live in a bizarro world. As highlighted by a recent Engadget piece ‘Will TV Companion Apps Proliferate Or Dwindle?‘, we have a Vice President from Fox that is in serious need of a one-way plane ticket back to fucking reality.
“Well, from a purely business perspective, I want everybody in a Fox app,” said Hardie Tankersley, vice president of digital platforms at Fox Broadcasting. “I want to control the experience, I want to manage the advertising. If I could get everybody who watches Fox to be in the Fox app, in the Fox world, I would definitely do that. I’m going to try to create a premium experience inside the branded Fox world,” Tankersley said.
Sounds good in theory, Hard Tank. Unfortunately, no one wants to be in your branded Fox world! You think people give a shit about your ‘brand’ enough to close their Twitter app just to see the same #bullshithashtag tweets, useless extras and of course, some combination of obtrusive ad blocks and network show promos? Go fuck yourself.
Sad to say, he’s not alone thinking this shit. All these television execs seem to exist as self-important twits who not only eat their own dog food, but believe the entire public lives and dies by it. Hey, schmucks. We can get on without you just fine. We have plenty of options at our disposal already, all of which suit our purposes to a tee. We don’t need your goddamn second screen ‘branded’ apps, ok?
According to Tankersley, Fox is currently providing second screen content for six shows, with live programming requiring a fleet of people working every week. In American Idol’s case, a team of roughly 15 people tailors the second screen experience for each week’s contest developments.
Ok, let me get this straight. You’re expecting us to have folders upon folders of show-specific apps, TV network apps and cable provider apps on our mobile devices? All for maybe a one hour usage a week, if we even remember to open it. Hell, we barely remember what show is on what channel anymore. You actually think people give enough of a crap about some of these shows where they’d want to dive more down the rabbit hole? No way.
Keep the fucking app. I’ll fire up Twitter and be just fine with that ‘social TV’ experience. I’d say most people are as well.