As television budgets continue to be squeezed and advertising revenues fall ever south, production companies and broadcasters are having to be über inventive in their solutions to make up the shortfall. Mindful of the opportunities opening up in an increasingly multi-platform market, TV companies are realising the benefits of promoting particular brands across different platforms. Not only creating increased awareness but also as a means of generating additional income. With more than 6 billion apps downloaded from the Apple store alone, mobile phone applications are proving to have extraordinary growth and potential, and it’s a market that the TV industry is now looking to take a share of.
A few successful apps have already been released on the back of current TV shows. From “Come Dine With Me” which allows viewers to create their own dinner parties complete with photos, music and the voice of narrator Dave Lamb, to “Fonejacker” which allows the user to carry out phone pranks using the voices of characters featured in the show. Taking things a step further, ITV has released the first app to be turned into a TV show. ‘John Bishop FC’ is an app featuring the comedian’s personal analysis of various World Cup football matches and was subsequently turned into a 30 minute show, transmitted on ITV4, called “John Bishop’s World Cup Diary”. With a headstart on the competition, ITV look likely to become the first broadcaster to release an app of their catch-up service, ITV Player. A unique move providing yet another platform for Television content to be viewed.
Channel 4 has also recently announced that it plans to invest £100k of its programme funding in developing mobile apps and is looking for independent production companies to pitch ideas around this concept. Along with the recent decision to merge its TV and online commissioning departments, C4 are clearly looking to build on multi-platform initiatives and given the potential returns available on mobile apps, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to test the waters.