Discovery Wants More Volume On ‘Fast N’ Loud’ With Second-Screen ‘Play-Along’

Fast n Loud Second Screen

New ideas arrive on screen in attempt to keep mobile-device fans watching the TV set

When tonight’s episode of “Fast N’ Loud” airs tonight at 9 p.m. on Discovery Channel, it will do so with some big hopes attached: The network is testing new techniques that could spur users of tablets and smartphones to watch the show live.

As the program about two mechanics seeking out old cars and restoring them plays on air, viewers will be invited to a “play along” game on either Discovery.com or an app called Zeebox that gives them the ability to vote on and influence the action on the show. It’s the latest layer Discovery has added to the program, which in recent weeks has also incorporated fans’ tweets in live graphics and live shots of the Dallas auto aficionados watching the program as it airs.

With more TV viewers using handheld gadgets as they watch TV (and nearly everything else they do), TV networks need to do battle with the obvious distraction the devices provide to viewers. “You cannot be blind to that,” said Conal Byrne, veep of digital media at Discovery Communications, the network’s owner. “If you are, you are at your own peril.”

For the past few years, a bevy of start-up concerns and big media conglomerates have experimented with so-called “second screen” experiences that ask TV viewers to play games, consider trivia or talk about the shows they watch while the shows are on the air. “To date, it has been largely niche,” said Jason Forbes, exec veep and managing director of Zeebox USA, a company that devised the “Fast N’ Loud” activity and counts Viacom, Comcast and NBCUniversal as minority owners. “We need to be doing a better job of getting these second-screen experiences out there.”

To make the activity surrounding tonight’s “Fast N’ Loud” experience easier to access, the network and Zeebox are making it available on Discovery’s web site, in addition to a downloadable zeebox app. The idea is that TV fans are often drawn to their TV shows’ digital properties, not necessarily an app not always linked to that TV program.

And the show’s efforts this evening’s show an evolution in the type of stuff typically included in second-screen activity. According to Forbes, the usual ideas – polling and trivia – aren’t enticing enough. During tonight’s program, viewers will be able to vote on the outcome of the program by using votes centered around custom hashtags.

Discovery intends to experiment with other play along experiences over the next three to six months with other programs, said Byrne.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 1

Leave a Reply

1 Comment

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. satan says:

    put an hemi in the back of an vw bus.

More TV News from Variety

Loading