IMDB boosts mobile apps with viewing check-ins

Krystal Peak · July 12, 2012 · Short URL:

Second screen check-ins find their way to the largest entertainment database online

It's fair to say that my life has seen a significant change since I discovered IMBD, and even more since I downloaded their app on my iPhone. Suddenly, all those "who was the one guy in that film" and "when did that TV show air" questions were at my finger tips and helped me win many an argument. 

Now, the movie database that see more than 160 million unique visitors a month has updated its iOS and Android apps to let people share what they are watching and when.

The Internet Movie Database made this update upon hitting a milestone of 40 million downloads for its Android and iOS apps and is looking at collecting and sharing more entertainment data between users so that you can discover gems you didn't know you were missing. 

IMDB added Facebook and Twitter check-ins, much like GetGlue, Miso or Peel have been doing for months so that you can have conversations with others that watch and love the same movies and TV shows that you do. 

Version 2.7 also includes a "watch list," message boards and more entertainment data like filming locations and soundtrack info.

IMDB made these changes based on customer interests to increase the data and value of the service.

"Today's announcement reflects growing customer demand for discovery, personalization and social functionality on their favorite mobile apps," said Col Needham, IMDb's founder and CEO. "Given that's message boards generate more than 2.5 billion page views annually, it's no surprise that mobile-optimized message boards were our #1 customer request. Beginning today, more than 40 million movie, TV and celebrity fans -- and counting -- will enjoy mobile message boards, check-ins, similarities and more when using IMDb's apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices."

The Seattle-based company is gearing up to leverage the database it manages to create a more well-rounded and interactive experience for Web users as well as mobile -- and could be a serious threat to the smaller companies that are just specializing in the check-ins and don't have all the other data that keeps people on the site and sharing more freely.

Back in April, a Nielsen study found that a staggering 86% of tablet owners and 88% of smartphone users they are on their devices while watching TV.

Nielsen looked at smartphone and tablet owners' habits over the course of a month and found that 45% of tablet users split their attention between their device and their TV programs on a daily basis -- and 41% of smartphone users did the same on their smaller mobile devices.

Marketing companies and second screen businesses like GetGlue have been savvy with these trends and have created more partnerships in order to capitalize on these new distracted habits. But the study identified that as much as TV programers would rather you tweet about the show or log-in to a second screen experience, the most common device activity occurring along with your TV viewing is checking email -- second is the highly coveted searches related to TV programming.

Similarly, the UK device users are splitting their attention just as much as their America counterparts. Roughly 80% of British tablet users are playing online as they watch TV and 78% used smartphones while watching TV in the last month. 

Italians and Germans were the least likely to use a device while watching TV. In both countries, 29% of users said they never use a tablet and TV together and 34% of Italians and 35% of Germans said they don’t use their smartphone while watching TV.

Second screen companies have been snagging funding for the last year or so, including GetGlue's capture of $12 million in January.

Launched less than two years ago, GetGlue has attracted more than two million users of its Web and mobile apps so that they can check-in to TV shows or movies, comment along with other fans, gain loyalty points and memorabilia and discover new shows that people like them watch.

Many have speculated, including your's truly, that this year would be the year of social interaction with produced content (also known as second screen interaction.)

This year we started seeing TV programs create hashtags for viewers to stream live comments and questions about programs such as Glee and American Idol. In fact, a study done at the very beginning of 2011 showed that 86% of people were already using their mobile devices while watching television and throughout the year more people started taking that time to tweet or comment about the shows they were watching.

Next year we will see an even deeper focus on assuring that people watching their shows and perusing the Internet at the same time will be focused on the program on TV.


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