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The Next Gen Likes Apps

15 Apr, 2013 By: Stephanie Prange

In recent weeks, one characteristic I’ve observed in the younger set (meaning my 10-year-old) is a desire to go into online worlds via apps. She wants to buy stuff for her virtual creatures or play a new app with yet more virtual creatures, some of which are related to linear programming on TV or disc.

In reading our six questions in the April 8 issue with Jargon Technologies CEO and co-founder Bhanu Srikanth, I was reminded of my daughter’s interest in apps. She noted children’s “need for activity and more interactivity” on the second screen. I couldn’t agree more.

Disney has been a pioneer in this arena, via its many apps surrounding discs, as well as its exploration of the fairy world online and its acquisition of Club Penguin. Who would ever guess that obtaining a Rainbow Penguin would mean so much to a 10-year-old?

Other studios also have a growing vision of the second screen, releasing apps for top titles aimed at adults and children. And they are right to develop and hone this type of interactivity now. Interaction with entertainment will surely grow as these kids do. My 15-year-old knows more about some online stars than she does about the latest hunk on the cover of the tabloids.

The entertainment consumer of the future (today’s kids) will crave interactivity and an online connection to linear content. It’s both an added burden and an opportunity for revenue growth for studios. If content creators get it right, innovative and creative apps will add to the studios’ bottom lines. If they let other developers capture the attention of the next generation, stealing time that could be spent watching and engaging with traditional linear programming, the studios may find they capture an ever-shrinking share of consumers’ entertainment time.

Hollywood is great at creating worlds that viewers want to enter. Now content creators again need to expand those worlds beyond the hour-long TV episode or the two-hour feature. We got a good head start with disc extras such as commentaries and making-of featurettes. The next “extras” will be online. They will change with the times and will engage viewers more than ever before.

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