What would make for a satisfying second-screen experience? That’s something I’ve thought a lot about during the past month, especially in regard to the network-branded second-screen apps, which could be offering much more value than they are now.
When Lost was on the air, I used to listen to every podcast and watch every video-blog that the show’s producers released. If that had all been packaged into an app that I could’ve fiddled with while watching the show, I would’ve suffered through all the commercials to get it.
But this is crucial: I would not have wanted any such Lost app to be functional for only one hour a week. The kind of ephemera in [a] second-screen app is great for a second viewing; it’d be way too distracting to keep up with while watching the movie the first time. So it goes with TV: Using a second-screen app to carry on conversations, take polls, and consume trivia while watching a new episode hardly seems like what the actual creators of the show had in mind."
Noel Murray at Grantland sort of backs into a revelation about the future of TV: when you have an app that augments a television show, you have to start thinking about the user experience of that television show, just as you would the UX of an app. And he raises an important question: who should be the person in charge of a TV show’s UX? The creator of the show or a network marketing guy? I imagine some showrunners will take control of this auxiliary means of storytelling, and some won’t give a shit.
One thing Noel Murray is 100% right about: second screen apps would be absolutely amazing for any story that is built upon lore. There are just some shows that make you want to fall down a rabbit hole.
The “lore” part is what makes watching “Game of Thrones” worth it via HBOGo.