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App brings shoppers to ‘Anarchy’

Viewers can buy items on FX series directly from their iPad while watching

As more viewers watch TV and a second screen at the same time, FX and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will launch their first interactive shopping app to monetize the habit, starting with purchases tied to FX’s “Sons of Anarchy.”

The downloadable app, dubbed “SOA Gear,” will enable viewers of the current season, starting with the ninth episode on Nov. 1, and the third-season Blu-ray, available now, to purchase products that appear during episodes.

Some 120 items will be sold, including items worn by the cast such such as Dickie workshirts, Seven Jeans, Lois Hill silver cuff bracelets, Original KD’s sunglasses, Churchill leather gloves and a Pyrrha silver medallion necklace worn, as well as Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Items, apart from the motorcycles, range in price from $10 to $350.

The Harleys won’t be available for purchase with a click of a button; a link will connect interested buyers to local dealers.

FX developed the app with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, which plans to make the app compatible with those for other TV shows. The app currently works only with Apple’s iPad and is available through Apple’s iTunes store.

Once launched, the app synchronizes while episodes of “Sons of Anarchy” play. Items available for purchase are highlighted as scenes progress. The app utilized BD-Live technology to make it compatible with the Blu-ray version of the show.

Purchases are seamlessly made from within the SOA app, which also features bonus content.

Individuals without an iPad can purchase items through Facebook or FX’s website.

“‘SOA’ fans have proven to be among the most highly engaged and passionate voices out there,” said Mike Dunn, president of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. “Ground-breaking technology platforms like the interactive shopping app will captivate fans and enhance the value of the franchise.”

Produced by FX Prods and Fox 21, “Sons of Anarchy” may not seem like the ideal series to launch an interactive shopping app given its edgy premise about an outlaw motorcycle clubintent on protecting its sheltered town against encroaching drug dealers, corporate developers and overzealous law officers.

But some 40% of “Sons of Anarchy’s” viewers are female, and 40% own an iPad, according to Fox, which is double the national average, giving FX a sizable test audience to sell related merchandise.

“Sons of Anarchy,” starring Ron Perlman, Charlie Hunnam and Katey Sagal, is also one of Fox’s top-selling TV shows on homevideo, especially on Blu-ray, with more than 2 million copies sold. Season three is already selling 40% more than season two on homevid, the studio said.

Separate studies, such as one conducted by social media research firm ListenLogic, have found that “Sons of Anarchy,” Fox’s “Glee” and A&E’s “Hoarders” are among the top series with viewers who often turn to a second screen, like a mobile phone or tablet computer while watching.

“We thought there’s a great opportunity with technology to do something where you can engage in a completely different manner than ever before,” Dunn said. “There’s not a show that has a higher level of engagement than this one.”

Interactive shopping has been a concept bizzers have discussed for years, often using the prospect of buying products in shows like “Friends” as an example of how the effort might work. But synching consumers’ TV viewing and clicks to shopping, via onscreen option or home computer, has been a significant hurdle.

“When all of those concepts were put out there, there were no smartphones or iPads,” Dunn said. “It’s an idea that can actually be brought to life now.”

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