Thanks to Mat Riches, I came across this article on mashable about ABCs new app for Grey's Anatomy. For those that don't know their McDreamy from their McSteamy and McVet (my wife is a fan, promise), Grey's is a show that has a rather big following, so the launch of an app that allows diehard fans to interact with the show as it plays out seems like a great idea to me. To understand more, have a look at this:
Grey’s Anatomy Sync is powered by Nielsen’s Media-Sync Platform and will house content based on what is happening on screen. The technology works in tandem with the microphone on the iPad to keep the app in sync with the show.
The technology is even cleverer than that though. In addition to using the app when watching the show live, users can also use the app when watching on a time-shifted copy of the program or when fast-forwarding or rewinding the show. It does this by using audio watermarks that US TV programs typically use for tracking ratings, enabling the app to figure out where a viewer is in a program and thus offer up corresponding content on the iPad
It's a great idea as it enables people to get more involved with the show. It follows a similar model that he king of teenage TV in the States, Josh Whedon, champions. Other Writer Directors like Tim Kring (Heroes) and JJ Abrams (Lost) call it "The Whedonverse" approach, whereby you don't measure the success of a programme purely on the ratings, you measure it on a) the depth of involvement your audience has with the show, and b) the 'after sales'. By after sales I mean DVD or downloads etc.
I certainly wouldn't be surprised if we see a lot more shows doing just this. Especially shows like Skins, Inbetweeners etc.