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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!


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!

SideShow Showcase: Sass, Gifs, and SNL, Oh My!

24 Feb

Welcome to another edition of our weekly SideShow Showcase! Where we celebrate the abundance of creative second screen experiences being made by television fans like you, using our Miso SideShow platform.

To start off, we wanted to highlight some of the submissions we have received for the Game of Thrones SideShow Challenge!  Check out a selection of cards from our numerous entries:

The first card is from Cody‘s SideShow for “Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things,” which is chock-full of both knowledge of the Game of Thrones universe, as well as sass.  The second card is from Mandy‘s SideShow for “The Wolf and the Lion,” which has all sorts of fun trivia about the show.  The last card is from Emily‘s SideShow for the episode “A Golden Crown,” which is just an all-around excellent SideShow to watch with the episode.

Remember, it’s not to late to accept the Challenge and earn the chance to earn the title of Hedge Knight or the more lucrative Sworn Sword! Head over to our Game of Thrones Challenge page to get started!

The next SideShow we have to showcase is for this past weekend’s Saturday Night Live from dinoray.  Dino’s SideShow had it all, including the best jokes, SNL History, and additional pop culture trivia!

If you like Dino’s Saturday Night Live SideShows, you should definitely check out his SideShows for other gut-busting comedies including Portlandia, Happy Endings, Eastbound and Down, and Community!

For our last SideShow this week, we have chosen to highlight Karma’s SideShow for everyone’s favorite love story told in reverse, How I Met Your Mother.

This has been a pretty heavy season for the gang, but Barney’s shenanigans has of course been up to the same shenanigans.  Karma links to a hilarious gif, recounts awesome quotes, and even provides a sense of clarity for Ted and his future wife.

That’s it for this week’s Showcase.  Think you have what it takes to be featured here?  Sign up to make your own SideShows!  We’ll be here, same time, same place, but until then… Peace, love, and TV!

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!

Mirror, mirror on the wall: What’s your favorite card of them all?

13 Feb
Calling all Once Upon A Time fanatics! You are on the spotlight for this week’s SideShow card contest! One lucky winner could win an enchanting basket full of Once Upon A Time merchandise!
Join the fun!

  • Contest starts on Monday, 2/13 and ends on Sunday, 2/19  at 11:59pm PT
  • Pick your favorite SideShow cards from any Once Upon A Time SideShow on iPhone
  • Share the card to Twitter with hashtag #misoOUAT 
  • One lucky winner will be announced the following Monday on the @gomiso Twitter

Here's one our favorite OUAT cards!

Let the SideShow card sharing begin and may your wish of winning that magical basket come true!

Become a SideShow Producer!

9 Feb

Do you LOVE TV? Do your friends turn to you for your insights on shows and celebs? Do you love to share your opinion on the latest plot developments?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, apply to become a SideShow Producer and starting producing your unique second screen channel on iPhone!

Provide your opinions, share your favorite quotes, ask questions, and much more! Now fans can follow YOU while they watch, no matter when they watch!

Create your own show within your favorite shows!

What’s in it for you?

  • Get famous! Your SideShow could be featured on iPhone and web.
  • Gain access to new features on Miso.
  • See metrics of fan interactions to your SideShows.
  • Receive free schwag from Miso and TV networks – and a chance to join exclusive events!

..and that’s just the beginning!

Think you got the chops? Sign-up to become a SideShow Producer NOW! 

We already have lots of talented SideShow Producers. Big shout-out to some of our best: Aline, Nola, Daisy, Chad, Sean, Mary, Matt, Meghan, Nina, Susan & more!

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!

Gleek it Out! Share and WIN!

6 Feb

Attention Gleeks: Show-off your favorite Glee cards for a chance to win sweet prizes!

Miso is hosting a week-long contest where one lucky fan will win a bucket full of Glee gifts (valued at $100 – complete with board games, DVDs, a calendar and much, much more). Share a SideShow Card from Glee and all of this could be yours!

Join the fun! 

  • Contest starts on Monday, 2/6 and ends on Sunday, 2/12 at 11:59pm PT
  • Pick your favorite SideShow cards from any Glee SideShow on iPhone (Example here)
  • Share the card to Twitter with hashtag #misogleek
  • One lucky winner will be announced the following Monday on the @gomiso Twitter 

Want to win free Glee gear? Get your gleek on and start sharing Glee cards today!

Super Bowl 2012: Get your Game On with Hyundai and Miso!

4 Feb

It’s down to the final two after a long journey…so pull up a front seat to the game between the Patriots and Giants during the Hyundai and Miso viewing party! Think the Giants can upset the Patriots…again? Or will the Patriots finally have their revenge?

Be a part of a live Super Bowl XLVI discussion and interactive experience with the Miso SideShow by Hyundai. Share who you think should be the MVP, support your team with fellow fans, provide your commentary on the halftime show by Madonna, and much more!

The Hyundai Super Bowl SideShow provides information and trivia delivered right to your iPhone. Be sure to check back into the SideShow before and during the game for live updates and to socialize during the biggest sporting event of the year.

Who are you rooting for?

SideShow Showcase: Manic Pixie Dream Cards!

3 Feb

Another week, another SideShow Showcase!  Let’s take a look at what this week has to offer!

First we have Matthew’s SideShow for everyone’s favorite adorkable New Girl. He drops a bit of knowledge with the card about common archetype Manic Pixie Dream Girls. Who knew that we had a bunch of Miso film scholars!

If you love Matthew’s New Girl SideShows, be sure to check out his SideShows for a different show every night. Some of our favorites include the iconic cartoon family, The Simpsons and the new Science fiction drama Alcatraz.

The next accolade-worthy SideShow is Toiya’s, for Fringe.  Toiya opens our eyes to the paranormal with her SideShow, as she uncovers the true nature of the universe around us. Her Pick ‘Em questions turn the show’s deep philosophical questions back on the audience and leads us to ponder the mysteries of life (whoa, heavy).

If you like Fringe, definitely check out where it draws influence with the classics The X-Files, The Twilight Zone, Altered States, and Dark Angel.

Rounding out this week’s SideShow collection is Michael’s SideShow for Californication.  Michael draws some awesome Quote cards truly capturing quick and witty writing with some of the more sarcastic dialogue of the show.

So that calls it for this week’s Showcase! Are you inspired? Think you are up for a challenge? Sign up to start making your own SideShows! Next Friday, we will be coming at you with even more fun SideShow cards, but and until then, happy watching!