The rise of companion apps and how phones and TV are the new best friends

By | February 19, 2012

What are companion apps?

Media broadcasters in recent years have begun publishing more and more companion apps: mobile applications intended to be used while watching a TV show, or or an app that somehow complements a TV show experience.

On a recent visit to a local TV station, I was given the opportunity to peak into their analytics, specifically at the profile of the mobile visitors on their website.

Aside from the expected confirmation that iOS visitors still massively dominate in terms of visits, a very valuable tidbit of information struck a chord with everyone in the room:

Most mobile visitors are using TV-enabled and TV-related apps are browsing from their home’s Wi-Fi networks.

When we saw these statistics, everyone understood just how widespread the phenomenon of watching & browsing is.

Everyone uses their smartphones and tablets while watching TV and that’s why companion apps make so much sense.

While I knew that it was a common practice (partly because I do it myself), I researched the phenomenon and stumbled upon very valuable data which confirms that this is definitely no freak occurrence:

86% of mobile Internet users (and 92% of ages 13-24) are using their mobile phones simultaneously with TV.

[of those surveyed] about 98 percent said that they use the iPad while watching TV at least once a day.

These are astronomical results!

No wonder TV stations like Bravo are embracing the iOS platform full steam ahead with companion apps that act as extension of their programming.

Smartphones have already changed the way we communicate. They’re currently changing the way we shop, and now they’ve begun changing the way we watch TV. It’s an exciting revolution!