Karen Nagy
Karen Nagy
Associate Editor

Television’s New Sidekick: The iPad

The iPad just may be TV’s latest and greatest sidekick. With new iPad apps for both ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Fox’s Bones that sync with the show in real-time to offer exclusive bonus material, television networks might have just uncovered the next best trend in making old media new again.

The technology first version appeared back in September for My Generation, but when ABC cancelled the show in October after two episodes, the app also disappeared. But ABC’s brought it back for the more-established Grey’s, and Fox has recently followed suit with their own app for Bones.

These apps deliver interactive content at specific moments, including polls and quizzes, behind-the-scenes footage, director’s commentary, information about guest stars, opportunities to purchase the music in the episode, the ability to comment and converse with other fans through social media functionality, and more. The Grey’s app syncs to the show after listening to the audio (you have to have the volume on your TV turned up loud enough), while the Bones app recognizes your time zone and matches up content with the local network’s schedule.

Viewers will have to get used to watching two screens simultaneously (as if you’re not already accustomed to surfing the web while keeping an eye on the tube), but the apps can bring viewers closer to their favorite shows by enhancing the program and opening up a new viewer experience with minimal effort. For example, there’s no need to search for that song you recognize and love — the Bones app has a jukebox function that gives you the option to buy it instantly. As the sync-to-broadcast approach appeals to both TV fans and advertisers, we’ll likely see similar apps for other shows as a way to rejuvenate TV and deepen engagement.

Photo Credit: iTunes Store