NBC is leaving no screen behind in its bid for Primetime Emmy glory this year.
The Peacock has created an iPad app to make all current-season episodes of every primetime and latenight program on the network available for screening by the nearly 15,000 TV Academy members who vote on Emmy kudos. The app, dubbed NBCU Screen It, was developed by NBC Entertainment’s PR team — led by exec veep of communications Richard Licata, a seasoned kudos strategist — in conjunction with online video distrib Brightcove.
NBC’s decision to go the iPad route this year with an unprecedented volume of for-your-consideration programming reflects the industry’s embrace of the device as a viewing platform. As a bonus, the app gives network brass an easy way to analyze viewing patterns.
It didn’t take any arm-twisting for NBC to persuade its outside studio partners, including Warner Bros. TV, Sony Pictures TV and 20th Century Fox TV, to allow their programs on the app once they were satisfied that its anti-piracy protections were “iron clad,” Licata told Variety. App users will get early access to episodes that have yet to air this season.
“This was a four-month process,” Licata said of the development of the app and its special features. “In a crowded programming landscape, we want to use every avenue possible to let voters see our programming. We want it to be flexible and convenient for people.”
The app goes live at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Apple’s App store. NBC late last month sent a mailing to all TV Acad voters that included a personalized passcode allowing them to access the programming after downloading the app. The same passcode will allow users access to the programming via the NBCAwardsScreeningRoom.com website.
NBCU Screen It includes a host of behind-the-scenes and supplemental features for each show. NBC’s publicity department began collecting special industry-focused material for the app last summer, at the same time it was assembling electronic press kits for new and returning shows.
NBC is getting a jump on actor submission reels with the app’s Spotlight feature that allows users to watch highlights of a given thesp’s work this season.
“It’s another way to put our talent front and center,” Licata said.
The app will stay active through the end of final Emmy judging in late summer, and will be revived later in the year as voting for the Golden Globes, SAG, WGA and DGA kudos cranks up.
The ability to track the shows and how many individual episodes users is a huge plus for NBC strategists, who are curious to see how closely viewing correlates with nominations.
In addition to NBC series, the app will give an Emmy showcase to “House,” the Universal TV-produced drama that is wrapping up its eight-season run on Fox this spring.