Planning to become one of the first broadcasters to have Zeebox-style second-screen services provided exclusively for their channels, UK terrestrial broadcaster Channel 4 (currently involved in an ageism case against a former sports presenter) have revealed a continuous app that will see all programs on their schedule given complete coverage for those that seek it.
The app called ‘4Now’ is set to offer users the chance to play along with quiz shows, participate in live polls relating to a program, or play games based on a show while it is occurring, running simultaneously to whatever is airing on the Channel 4, More4, E4, and 4seven channels.
Releasing to the public in ‘beta’ mode in July, the users will be invited to make suggestions for the app’s ‘final name’ when it is given its full (iOS-only) release later in the year, although it currently seems as if 4Now would be a fairly difficult option to beat.
Unlike the Xbox One’s controversial former feature rumors, 4Now will be able to pride itself as an ‘always-on’ app , with ‘additional program content’ such as Twitter synchronization, and live program information amongst the options that users can enjoy while their show is in-progress.
In what might be a less popular feature, Channel 4’s commercial breaks will offer the app a chance to trial unique new advertising formats, with the service generating ‘real-time audio-triggered advertising’ and ‘interactive sponsorship’ as a means of further adding to the second-screen experience of the broadcast.
Channel 4’s ‘director of strategy & technology’ Keith Underwood said of the plans: “Channel 4 has a long history of delivering innovative new technology projects. As a centralised product destination, 4Now allows us to enhance our relationship with viewers and enables us to offer them a range of interactive, synchronised experiences for shows which may not have warranted a standalone application. Additionally, it enables us to drive further commercial opportunities for our advertising partners.”
With no less that 4 channels to offer supplemental content for ‘live’, the move into second-screening is an ambitious one for Channel 4, but will their open attitude towards the untried methods pay off for them with this app? 4Now, we will have to wait and see…