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Second Screen: It’s Elementary

3 Dec, 2012 By: Stephanie Prange


'The Dark Knight Rises' second-screen app

Last week I attended a demonstration of Warner Bros.’ latest app for a home entertainment release, The Dark Knight Rises.

Apps, as I have noted before in this column, are the latest embodiment of extras in the home entertainment realm. Unlike the traditional disc extras we are used to, they are non-linear. They allow consumers the option of taking off on many different tangents that interest them about a particular movie. They can complement both a theatrical release and a home entertainment release. They can offer more content for both television series and features.

For those who may consider them just a fad, contemplate this: My 10-year-old asked me what I was doing at Warner last week. I said I was looking at an app for a movie, and she volunteered, “Oh, it’s second screen.”

“Huh?” I said, honestly dumbfounded. “How do you know that?”

“TV!” she volunteered enthusiastically.

Granted my 10-year-old may know more about this stuff than your average fifth-grader, but considering she’s never used a second-screen app I found it pretty interesting that she knew what it was.

I offer this anecdote to demonstrate that technology is more easily digested by the elementary school set. They don’t see a complicated, newfangled way to access extras. They easily get the concept of a second screen.

Speakers at the Nov. 29 Variety Entertainment Apps Conference wrung their hands about how “confounding” and confusing second-screen apps were for the consumer, but I think they may not notice that the consumer of tomorrow — the elementary set — already understands the second screen and apps. Heck, many kids are using iPads and iPods in school to access textbooks and research. They are constantly on their mobile phones. I don’t think I see my 14-year-old without a phone in her hand.

Confounding or not, apps are going to be a part of the entertainment future. It’s elementary.



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