During last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw, professional wrestling collective WWE launched its second-screen experience, WWE Active, on its WWE flagship app. New functionality includes the delivery of live-match continuation, backstage content, live polls, photos, trivia and exclusive information on all of WWE’s talent, a.k.a. the so-called “Superstars and Divas.”
If early uptake of the app is a bellwether, there’s clearly an ongoing thirst for companion information for TV shows, particularly in the sports arena. WWE launched its flagship mobile app about four months ago and since then has secured more than 2.7 million downloads in 215 countries. But, in the wake of the ancillary content update, the app achieved more than 100,000 updates and 20,000 downloads in one night, moving up more than 300 spots into the Top 50 Free Entertainment Apps on the iPhone (News - Alert), ranking ahead of HBO GO, NBC, Showtime Anytime, ABC Family and Cartoon Network.
While studies show that tablet and smartphone users are increasingly multitasking in front of the television, there’s been much debate over how much use of true second-screen apps there really is—i.e., how often people use either an app that syncs to the show being watched or a companion app like WWE Active to find deeper engagement with the programming.
Earlier in the year, the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that while 38 percent of mobile multi-screeners use their devices to keep themselves occupied during advertising breaks, other stats were more encouraging. Twenty-three percent send texts to friends watching the same show as them. About 22 percent fact-check what they've seen on TV, 20 percent visit Web sites mentioned in a show, 11 percent check what other people are saying online about the show they're watching and 11 percent post their own comments from their phone. Meanwhile, 6 percent said they use their phones to vote for reality show contestants.
Companion apps that can bring all of this functionality together into one portal are becoming more common now, which could move the dial on the phenomenon. New apps like zeebox, which syncs with shows to deliver relevant information and marketing, also have the backing of large ecosystem players, like Comcast (News - Alert), HBO and Viacom, which bodes well for future development.
For its part, WWE Active is customized for its centerpiece shows, including Monday Night Raw, SmackDown and WWE Main Event. It also offers a round-the-clock mobile platform for the WWE Universe: Using mobile location technology, users can order tickets to local events, watch and purchase pay-per-views, buy authentic WWE merchandise via WWEShop.com and follow social conversations happening in their area.
“No one else out there is executing an interactive experience at this level and we’re proud to be at the forefront of innovation,” said Perkins Miller, executive vice president of Digital Media at the WWE, in a statement. “WWE is committed to enhancing the fan experience and we’re excited to unveil a revolutionary second screen experience with WWE Active.”
The WWE flagship app, powered by Bottle Rocket Apps, is available for iOS and Android (News - Alert) mobile devices and tablets, including the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Samsung Galaxy SIII. The app is free and can be found in Apple’s iTunes App Store and Google (News - Alert) Play.Tara Seals has over thirteen years of experience as a journalist. Her areas of expertise cover the waterfront of the service provider segment, especially mobile networks, devices and applications; and video infrastructure, content and broadcast models.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli