How Falling Skies New Companion App Ruined the Season 2 Premiere (in a good way).
Last Sunday just before the Falling Skies Season 2 premiere the fine folks at TNT went out and released a fancy new app in the iTunes App Store and Android Marketplace. The app called Falling Skies Sync is designed to work with the show to reveal secrets, special features, polls and fan interactions throughout the night.
Before getting too deep into the app and my thoughts about it, let’s look back at how Falling Skies has been one of the most progressive shows on TV when it comes to fan involvement, interaction, viral marketing and awareness. Last year during the first season Falling Skies got on board with Klout putting out a series of Perks that still stand as some of the best swag in the history of the influence measuring platform. Then followed up each week with a new viral preview to go along with that week’s episode, needless to say fans were hooked and the Falling Skies conversation continued all week long right up to the next episode.
It is that kind of forward thinking by TNT making Falling Skies a must watch show week after week. The real win with the Falling Skies Sync App is not that it follows along with the show, it is that it follows along with the show no matter when you watch. For example, I watched the first hour of the Season 2 Premiere live, then for hour 2 I let the DVR build up some time so I could buzz past a the commercials and still end right around 11:00. The Sync worked perfectly under both situations and I was never spoiled or put ahead farther than I was with the episode at that moment. So unlike what The Walking Dead did with their website this season, the Falling Skies app will listen to the episode and sync up to where you are at any time. The Walking Dead site only worked if you were watching the show in real-time
So how did the App ruin the experience of watching the episode? Honestly, the experience and interaction with the app was too good. Instead of the TV being my primary screen, my iPad became my primary screen and the TV my second. After finishing up the episodes I actually put my iPad in the other room to rewatch both hours to make sure I not only caught everything in them, but to have the intended watching experience to really enjoy the premiere.
What happens when your second screen experience is so good it takes away from the primary screen? Well, you end up watching the episode twice for one (I’m sure I wasn’t alone there). Now the real interesting part of this whole Sync App tech, do I watch the show on demand via DVR, iTunes or TNT.com or do I watch in real-time on TNT to really get the most out of the fan experience Falling Skies is building? I think for week 2 I will probably check it out live, because during the commercial interruptions (of which there are many) the app provides some pretty cool puzzle games to keep you in Falling Skies mode.
Let’s recap… Falling Skies gets viral marketing and how word of mouth and constant engagement can grow ratings week over week, Falling Skies is one of (if not the) most social media dialed in shows and now they have gone and added another layer of interaction and interactivity to the whole thing. Don’t tell them TV is supposed to be passive media, because I’m pretty sure they would laugh in your face. So head over to the iTunes App Store or Android Marketplace and download this app to your smartphone or tablet, you’ll have an new appreciation for multi-tasking and a new level of engagement with fan of your favorite summer-time post-apocolaptic alien invasion drama (because TNT does after all, Know Drama).
One more thing about this app, the Falling Skies Sync app gives you exclusive access to the Falling Skies After Show 2nd Watch hosted by sci-fi icon Wil Wheaton. It’s a great little show that you can watch immediately after the episode or streaming at anytime after 2nd Watch airs. So make sure to keep following the adventures of the 2nd Mass as they continue to building a pretty amazing digital and social marketing strategy to do what most shows wish they could do… add audience and convesation to their show week after week after week.
Here are the links to the app for iOS and Android.
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– Brian (follow @briantudor on Twitter)
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