Archive by Author

To Enhance, Not Distract, on the Second Screen

7 Mar

A few days ago, the following question was posed at TVnext, to a panel on the second screen: “Do you think we’re asking too much out of our audience?” The answer, of course, is “no.” TV watchers started using the second screen long before television-specific experiences were being developed. The most important thing is for complementary content to enhance the viewing experience, as opposed to distracting from it. Content that is enhancing to one person may be distracting to the next however, so the following study uses a purely democratic method – observing viewing trends to derive the overall success of SideShow cards, working under the hypothesis that increased views is an indication of enhancing content.

The most apparent trend is the increased views of cards with links in them. The audience takes note of interesting supplemental material and follows up on them when they have the opportunity to delve into it (e.g. waiting for commercials to view a video). The following are the best practices for using cards with links to maximize views, whether you’re making a SideShow as a fan or on behalf of the show itself.

Info = Views

In dramas and more serialized television shows, actor info cards (with a link to IMDb or Wikipedia) are consistently revisited, which causes spikes in card views. In fact, cards like the following examples can increase views by 10%!

Transmedia Comedy

In comedies and more episodic shows, links still cause increased views, but guest star and cast info cards are far less appealing. Instead, the largest spikes in views are caused by links that explain or add to a on-screen joke, or make an entirely new one. The following cards had ~5% more views than its neighbors.

Source Matters

There is an addendum to the previous view trends, however. In both types of shows, the spike in views caused by cards with links is the greatest in the official, network-produced SideShows. It seems that the reputability of the SideShow source makes the links all the more compelling, whether their “official” designation makes them close to canon, or just of perceived higher quality by default. In the examples throughout this article, the cards on the left were provided by the network, and the cards on the right are fan-made – did the links on the cards on the left seem more alluring to you?

This trend is by no means a rule, however. Fan-created SideShows generally experience less of a view bump from links, but with the right lead-in or link text, they can see comparable or superior numbers:

LEFT: Network SideShow, 7.7% view increase. RIGHT: Fan-Created SideShow, 8% view increase

Tips to Link Your Way to Views

  • For dramas, provide links to more information on the cast and guest stars.
  • Comedy fans like jokes to be extended from their first screen to their second screen.
  • Whether you’re a network or a fan, entice the audience into your link with a hook.

We hope you enjoyed our study on findings by views for scripted TV SideShows. Join us at Miso as we explore the vast opportunities of second screen content. Until next time, happy creating!


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SideShow Showcase: And On The Seventh Day, God Watched Big Bang Theory

2 Mar

This week’s SideShow Showcase features zombies, a particularly famous bachelor, and a divine entity (we’re an inclusive bunch here at Miso). Let’s get to it!

First up is the Big Man himself, God. God’s got a pretty busy schedule, but on Thursday, he likes to kick his feet up, pull out his iPhone, and enjoy half-hour episodes of his favorite creations. Check out God’s commentary on last week’s Big Bang Theory!

God certainly has a sense of humor. Be sure to check out God’s SideShows for his other favorite show: The Office!

The next SideShow to highlight is Kate’s coverage of The Bachelor. Her quote cards documenting the emotional journey of love are as beautiful and pure as the intentions of the show’s contestants. Maybe that was a bad analogy.

Welcome back Chad to the Showcase. His SideShows for The Walking Dead are easily the most popular SideShows on all of Miso – if you haven’t yet, you should definitely check them out. This week, Chad offered up all of the ethical quandaries and high-pressure decision-making that comes with the Zombie Apocalypse to you, as you watch. Fortunately, you can make life-and-death decisions from the comfort of your couch, but if the day ever comes…you’ll be ready.

Chad also makes SideShows for Archer, so if you’re in to that sort of thing, be sure to investigate them.

That’s it for this week’s Showcase! Are your creative juices flowing yet? Sign up to start making your own SideShows! See you next Friday with some more fun SideShow cards, and until then, happy watching!

February’s Top Shows on Miso!

1 Mar

With February now a thing of the past, we looked back to find the most popular shows for Miso users.  Let’s count down the most checked-in shows for the month February!

Continue reading

SideShow Playbook: Do’s and Don’ts!

28 Feb

Welcome back to the SideShow Playbook, aspiring Producers! In our previous installment, we shared with you the five fundamental types of content for a successful SideShow, but there’s still lots to cover. In today’s edition of the Playbook, the topic is

Do’s and Don’ts: Tips to delight and mistakes to avoid!

Don’t hold back – Share insider information!

The most resoundingly praised SideShows are full of production info, background context, and behind-the-scenes knowledge. When fans watch an episode of one of their favorite television series, they have an insatiable thirst for details surrounding their show. As such, we can’t emphasize this enough: these “directors’ cut” SideShows can be as rewarding as DVD bonus features, so don’t skimp on all the nitty gritty!

Don’t be shy – Leave some personality on the page!

Whether you’re making a SideShow consisting entirely of facts or entirely of snark, there’s no substitute for charisma. It’s far more fun to talk about TV like you’re in the same living room as your viewers, than as an encyclopedia entry. And if your fellow fans feel similarly about the characters and their actions, you have a chance to match their complex emotions with your card with personality – a very rewarding experience!

Don’t settle – Take the time to find the right moment.

SideShows are designed to be synced with the show, so make sure content appears when it should! The window for card relevance is within five seconds – any later and you’ve missed the beat!

Don’t botch the quotemake sure to get it right!

Using a quote card to capture your favorite moments is a great idea – it’s a fun and easy way for viewers to broadcast their love for the show. But imagine seeing a quote card that jumbles the sharp line you just heard on your TV – it totally defeats the purpose! It’s a more common mistake than you would think, so be sure to get the quote correct!

Don’t stray too far with your links – keep it relevant!

SideShows are great for sharing relevant information and links, but don’t go overboard! Remember that your audience is watching a show, so don’t forget to ask yourself “would I click this link?” before you include it.

Don’t repeat images – keep your SideShow fresh with a good variety!

It’s often difficult to find the perfect image for your SideShow card, because you have to match the show’s precise tone in an image. Sometimes it seems appropriate to skip the search and use the same image twice – but what are the odds that it is the perfect image for two moments? There are times when it works, but as a general rule, repeat images feel lazy and are a negative experience for the viewer.

Ready to create your own SideShow channel? Sign-up here to get started!

SideShow Showcase: Miso’s Funniest Home Videos!

17 Feb

Welcome to this week’s SideShow Showcase, where we celebrate the abundance of creative second screen experiences being made by television fans like you, using our Miso SideShow platform.

Our first SideShow of note is for the latest episode of American Idol. Michael DeLisi tracked down all the songs being covered, provided links to them on iTunes, and even found the Twitter accounts for the contestants who didn’t make the cut! We’re sure they appreciate the support.

Change the way you watch Idol – get all the information you’ve been wondering about pushed right to your phone.

Back before YouTube, the only way to get your short silly home video fix was America’s Funniest Home Videos. After 22 years, AFV is still going strong, and with diamondIan’s SideShow, you can head over to YouTube for more of the best funny home videos.

Sure, Two and a Half Men hasn’t been the same since Ashton Kutcher replaced Charlie Sheen, but that doesn’t mean that the most talked about show of the year has gotten less interesting. Matthew Simon explains some of the subtle nuances of the episode “The Duchess of Dull-in-Sack.”

Keep checking in for the scoop on the best second screen experiences around! If you think you have some knowledge to share, sign up here to start creating SideShows. Happy watching!

Scripting the Best Predictions for Scripted TV

7 Feb

With Miso SideShows, we’re creating a place for fans to comment with their shows tagged to the exact moment of what they want to talk about. No more spoilers, no more lost discussions.

After publishing our breakthrough study on the second-screen space last year, we launched the SideShow platform in September 2011, so fans could enjoy an improved way to socialize and share around the television programs they watch. This sort of experience had never been done before, so Miso was venturing into uncharted grounds. Now that we’re a little older and a little wiser, we’d like to share with you some of our findings regarding what makes the most successful SideShow content.

One of the things we expected is that fans would love the opportunity to predict what comes next – no longer would they reduce themselves to shouting at their TV set. Most of the time, we were proved right: fans loved voting on possible future outcomes and sharing their opinions about them. There are times, though, where prompts for predictions went eerily quiet. What caused the disparity in fan engagement between one prediction card and another? We’ve dove into SideShows created for serial dramas to see what makes fans want to lean forward and interact with scripted TV.

The Power of Pick Ems

Early in the platform, it became clear that Pick Em votes were the most common interaction, having the most amount of fun for the least amount of effort. What we didn’t expect, however, was that Pick Ems could also have some of the most comments and social shares, given the right situation. When Pick Ems offer a chance to predict an important future outcome without constraining the viewer into an overly-specific response, commenting and sharing went through the roof. These “Two-Part Pick Ems,” which explicitly ask for an answer and implicitly ask for an explanation, are the most successful type of card for prompting predictions from viewers.

You’ll notice that the answers to these Pick Ems from Dexter are actually pretty unspecific. They don’t over-explain any option or expect specific predictions, instead, they’re essentially a binary response. But by simply covering the spectrum of responses with Pick Em options, they offer the opportunity to elaborate. For example, instead of asking “What will happen to Quinn?” and giving answers that include a variety of scenarios, the card asks “Are Quinn’s days at Miami Metro Homicide numbered?”, which identifies the specific dramatic tension that is prompting the question to begin with, molds it into a yes or no question, and then invites speculation as to how or why.

The fluidity of these second level interactions is what makes these Pick Ems more effective than open-ended questions. Instead of prompting with an open-ended prediction question, or a Pick Em with pre-speculated choices, the Two-Part Pick Em provides simple answers while stimulating creative responses. They maintain the ease of the Pick Em format, while the increased investment of commenting leads to more sharing. As a result, Two-Part Pick Ems could be expected to receive 43% more votes and 36% more shares than a prediction Pick Em that provides specific answers.

Timing is Everything

The other important quality of a successful prediction card is when in an episode it occurs. What we found from serial dramas is that viewers prefer to predict about episodic plot arcs, which develop early in the episodes. Prediction Pick Ems occurring early in the exposition and rising action of an episode, like this example from The Walking Dead, receive four times as many votes and shares than those during the climax or resolution.

The importance of this contextual factor leads to several content-related questions. For one, if viewers prefer prediction cards earlier in an episode, does that mean they prefer to predict episode plot arcs as opposed to episode-ending cliffhangers? Not necessarily. Prediction cards regarding serial/season plot arcs that occur at the end of an episode can be very successful. However, after the climax and resolution, at the end of an episode, the most important card to include is a place to give the viewers the opportunity to leave reactions. In fact, open-ended cliffhanger prediction cards often turn into reactions, completely ignoring the question!

Care About All The Characters

Finally, we hypothesized that fans would care more about predicting the fate of the main characters and of the central plot, than of auxiliary characters and insignificant subplots, but were surprised to discover that prediction Pick Ems that regarded the central plot and characters were nearly indiscernible from the rest. That is to say, when it comes to prediction Pick Ems, viewers are not picky.

Take these cards from Dexter. We believed that the most successful Pick Ems would be about the A-plot, Dexter hunting Travis. After all, if you were chatting about the show at the water-cooler, more likely than not, you would share your predictions about the primary plot. Yet prediction Pick Ems regarding Quinn and Batistas’ office conflict, or Deb, LaGuerta, and Matthews’ power struggles, all got comparable interactions and shares. That means the success of prediction cards is not determined by what they ask, but how they ask it.

The Three Tips for Prediction Pick Ems

  • The best practice for implementing prediction cards is to identify the dramatic element that is being predicted about, and form a Pick Em question in a way that can be answered with clear, simple choices.
  • Ask for predictions early in an episode, and offer places to share reactions at the end.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask about any part of the story!

We hope you enjoyed our study on prediction prompts for scripted TV. Join us at Miso as we explore the vast opportunities of second screen content. Until next time, happy creating!

January’s Top Shows on Miso!

1 Feb

With the first month of 2012 in the books, we looked back to see what topped Miso’s charts. Count down the most checked-in TV shows with us!

10. Coming in at #10 is the veteran medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, which is in the midst of its eighth season. There will be at least one more season of Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh & Co., so expect more appointments with Grey’s Anatomy in our top ten in the future.
9. Dexter, our favorite serial killing vigilante, is Miso’s 9th-most checked-in show of January, despite wrapping its sixth season in December, 2011. Maybe everyone was just a bit behind on their DVRs, or everyone wanted to relive the debut of the SideShow experience. Either way, Season 7 can’t come soon enough.
8. It’s great to see Chuck crack the top 10, considering the often-underrated show aired its final five episodes this month. Farewell, Intersect.
7. Modern Family takes #7 for January. After a virtual sweep of the comedy Emmys last fall, the third season has tried to keep that momentum going.
6. Once Upon a Time remains a Miso favorite, echoing the notion that the series’s first season has won the 2011 Fairy Tale genre competition. Once Upon a Time is the only freshman series to climb into the top 10 after the holiday hiatus, with Fall starts Revenge (#14), American Horror Story (#16), New Girl (#19), 2 Broke Girls (#26), and Homeland (#27) close behind.
5. Alcatraz made a huge splash with its series debut. After four episodes, the series shot up to the #5 most checked-into show of January. Its pilot was the most checked-into episode of the month, and “Ernest Cobb,” the second episode of the two-hour double debut, retained much of the pilot’s audience, making it the fourth most watched episode of the month.
4. Our international viewers flexed their check-in muscles, shooting the BBC airing of Sherlock to the #4 spot for the month. The season debut episode “A Scandal in Belgravia” peaks at Miso’s 7th most watched episode of January. The acclaimed miniseries will likely spike again when the second season re-airs for US audiences on PBS later in the year.
3. America’s underdog primetime sci-fi series Fringe defied its Friday timeslot and lagging Nielsen ratings by taking the 3rd-most checked-in show of January. Its episodes “Back to Where You’ve Never Been” and “Enemy of My Enemy” are the #8 and #10 most-watched episodes of January, respectively. Its future hangs in the balance, but for now, Fringe can bask in its loyal Miso viewership.
2. The nostalgic comedy How I Met Your Mother takes show #2 of January and the 5th (“Tailgate“) and 9th (“46 Minutes“) most-watched episodes of January. Bittersweet news for HIMYM fans – the better the show does, the longer it’ll be until we find out who Ted settles down with. Just sayin’…
1. CBS’s juggernaut comedy from Chuck Lorre – no, not Two and a Half Men, we’re talking about The Big Bang Theory – takes the top spot as Miso’s most-watched series of January. BBT celebrated its 100th episode at the #3 most-watched episode of January (“The Recombination Hypothesis“), with “The Shiny Trinket Maneuver” at #2 and “The Beta Test Initiation” at #5.

Here’s what else was hot on Miso in January:

Top Movies of January:

Top TV Events of January:

Top Past Shows of January:

SideShow Showcase: Piles of Personality

27 Jan

It’s time again for our SideShow Showcase, where we honor this week’s best of the best!

First off is Chad‘s SideShows for Archer. He’s done a great job catching all the show’s references and trivia throughout these first episodes of the hilarious cartoon’s third season.

If you love that dimwitted spy Archer, you won’t want to miss Chad’s Archer SideShows! And for you zombie fans, Chad has great SideShows for every episode of The Walking Dead, which returns on February 12th!

This week, our friends at USA presented a great SideShow for the episode “Upper West Side Story” of their hit series White Collar! Their links took us all over the Internet, with comical supplementary content ranging from 19th century poetry, to ’80’s romantic comedy clips, to fashion retailers.

Don’t miss White Collar, Tuesdays on USA, be sure to check out their SideShow – the show within the show!

Rounding out this week’s Showcase is Karma‘s SideShow for Sunday’s episode of the half-hilarious, half-horrifying series ShamelessI’ll Light a Candle for You Every Day.” She brought some deep analysis of the show, while simultaneously expressing the emotions we were all feeling.

That’s it for this week’s Showcase! Are your creative juices flowing yet? Sign up to start making your own SideShows! See you next Friday with some more fun SideShow cards, and until then, happy watching!

SideShow Showcase: Our Favorite Moments

20 Jan

Welcome to the very first SideShow Showcase, where we shine the spotlight on some of the extraordinary second screen moments made by you, our Miso Hosts! We hope they serve as inspiration for future SideShow creators.

Our first set of excellent cards come from Gerald’s SideShow for The Big Bang Theory episode “The Shiny Trinket Maneuver.” His SideShows have great Pick ‘Em cards, and his innovative “Sheldon Moments” poll is one of our favorite features.

Be sure to check out Gerald’s Big Bang SideShows!

Another one of our popular SideShows is Meghan’s SideShow for the Once Upon A Time  episode “Desperate Souls.” Her cards are insightful and scrutinizing, and viewers love to leave their comments on them.

If you’re a Once Upon a Time fan, don’t miss Meghan’s SideShow!

Finally, take a look at these great quote cards for The Vampire Diaries episode “Our Town,” in a SideShow also made by Meghan. These cards have some beautiful, high-quality photos, with excellent quips by the show’s characters. Wouldn’t these just look great in your Facebook and Twitter feeds?

That’s it for this week! If you’d like to start creating your very own SideShows, sign up here. Check back next week for more exceptional SideShows, and happy watching!

The Miso Badge Contest Results are in!

15 Sep

The votes have been tallied, and we’re proud to present to you the three winning badges from the Miso Badge Contest. Without further ado, the winners:

Bloody Terrific, Supernerd, Anime Enthusiast

Here are the clues to get you on your way:

  • Bloody Terrific. Nothing like a small massacre. Submitted by Niko
  • Supernerd. What is the real Nerdstuff? Are you 1337? Submitted by Yvonne
  • Anime Enthusiast. Beware, Godzilla is on a rampage! Submitted by Aleksander

Thanks to everyone who submitted their badge ideas, and congratulations to our winners! Be on the lookout for these new TV badges, and keep checking in on Miso! 🙂