Well, Apple isn't really doing much except maybe nudging studios and preaching about the awesomeness of their products, but several big names in TV have made some overtures to get their TV content in front of iOS users, mainly the iPad. Since it seems like a nice sort of platform for that sort of thing, I would love to watch TV on an iPad from what I've seen of them, especially in those spaces where it's up close and personal and I don't have much space: bus, plane, etc.
New iPad Apps From NBC, TNT, & TBS
NBC kicked things off with a new, improved version of their iPad offering, the NBC Live App, which offers full episodes and extra content on top of that to help better cement that relationship between viewer and show. Something we know that a lot of people want and many are more willing to interact with the brands via social networking and apps than ever before. I suppose it has something to do with the viewer feeling a closer tie to the show with all the added content.
But NBC isn't the only three-letter company to boost its iPad presence. Behold TNT and TBS, both under the Turner umbrella, who have recently updated their apps as well but not just for iPad. They have also extended full episodes and new functionality to the iPhone as well. After all, there's not all that much of a difference between them, is there?
Here is the feature list for the TBS and TNT for iPad App:
- Full Episodes of TNT Series and Movies (after authenticating)
- Series Episode Guides
- Clips and Behind-the-Scenes Video
- Show Schedules with Reminders
- GetGlue, Facebook and Twitter Integration
Now, they haven't really said exactly how many episodes there will be nor how long it will be before first run episodes will show up on the app, but it is definitely a smooth move. The feature lists are the same since it was probably the same developer who made them and just re-branded for each channel.
Fragmentation is Bad
But now we come to a big problem. Multiple apps that all do the same thing: show TV shows and extra content. To me, that just seems like unnecessary clutter, whereas something like the Time Warner Cable app puts it all into one app and channel surfing, so to speak, is much easier.
Who wants to have to tap an app, surf, close the app, tap another, surf, close, tap, surf, close... It's actually a stupid way to go if you ask me. This what what made Hulu so popular, it's why Netflix hasn't sunk itself yet: a single login, a single app and content from a variety of sources.
Hell, one might even say that Turner Broadcasting has gone an even dumber route, they have multiple channels all owned by the corp, yet they are making separate apps for each one? Asinine is a word that comes to mind.
Unclutter the App List
Have the studios learned absolutely nothing thus far? Do they not realize that convergence is better than divergence? That single access entry is much easier and more desired by consumers than silly, convoluted, cluttered Approaches? I hate having 100 apps, unless they're all awesome games or extremely useful. Plus, we're all working with a finite amount of space. It seems to me that this is just a way for them to say "well, we have XXX,000 downloads of App A and YYY,000 of App B" when they could just roll it all into one and say "we have shown eighty bajillion videos to our one million app users."
Hmmm...perhaps that's just too plain common sense for them. After all, these are TV execs we are talking about. Though, I have to say, Turner probably does have a more cohesive and organized programming plan than some others.
But does that then mean we can expect 7 apps for 7 channels of Turner? CNN, TNT, TCM, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, TruTV and TBS? Who would want that? I'd rather have one and be able to pick and choose what I want. (Actually, they have like 30 channels, but the 7 something for 7 something seemed a good way to go there.)
I suppose we're lucky that there are really only so many major studios and broadcasters or we'd have page after page of app because we want to watch full episodes of one show on each channel.