While reading an interesting piece in AdAge on Syfy Network’s new plans for significantly upping its bet on interactive elements of TV (aka Social TV), it occurred to me that the proper integration of show-centric interactivity and commercials might just save television as a medium.
The network has already shown itself as pretty savvy on this front with the stupendous work they’re doing on their new series, “Defiance“, which debuts Monday night. Simultaneous releases of the new series and a video game, with both products sharing a new earth world, is an incredibly ambitious and powerful combination idea. (I haven’t seen the show yet of course but already I’m hooked. I won’t play the game because: (a) I don’t play games; (b) I’m really bad at games; (c) It’s not available on Mac; and (d) there’s no real compelling, actually interactive tie-in with the show.)
Among the interactive angles Syfy is playing in current and forthcoming series:
- In a new series called “Helix,” Syfy will use an app to let viewers explore the research lab in step with the events onscreen. “The two-screen experience will provide extra clues to the show’s many secrets, clues that viewers won’t get just from watching on TV.”
- On a new reality series called “Opposite Worlds”, viewers will be able to affect the outcome of who-stays-who-goes by sending gifts to participants in real time, only during the show’s live broadcast.
- Skyping with contestants in a reality race show.
- Allowing users to change the outcome of a show in real time with a new horror project involving Jamie Foxx.
Now if advertisers are smart enough to tie their ads to the interactive content and carry over from the show to their commercial spots, people will have to stop skipping over commercials or lose out on some aspect of the show itself.
Experts in the industries involved are way ahead of me here. There’s already been a book published by an ad agency guru. Mike Proulx and his co-author Stacey Shepatin published the book “Social TV: How Marketers Can Reach and Engage Audiences by Connecting Television to the Web, Social Media, and Mobile.”
But as a lay viewer with a technical bent, this is exciting stuff.