TV shows are increasingly launching their own mobile apps to gain more popularity …

From the first episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati, I have wondered what it would be like on the hotseat, to have a series of multiple-choice questions fired at me by the Big B himself. But I was among the unfortunate ones who could never get through the hotline for participating. The show continues to fascinate, so imagine my delight when I got to know of a free mobile app that allows for a user to ‘play along’ with KBC.

And is not a case in isolation. Today, we see free for a variety of popular shows on Indian television including those for Dance India Dance, Nach Baliye, Star Plus Mahabharat, Junior MasterChef, DID Super Moms etc. And these are being launched across operating systems. For instance, Sony LIV, Multi Screen Media’s premium video-on-demand service is available on the Windows 8 app store and covers genres including drama, comedy, thriller, reality shows and more. Users can use the Mood Wheel to watch their favourite video as per their mood/genre; they can also create playlists of shows. In addition to original complete content, Sony LIV also offers short content formats like Catch-up episodes, Quickisodes and Short Crunch episodes.

Most of the major general entertainment channels have their apps on mobiles including ZEE TV, Star India, Colors etc. TV channels were probably first to go the app route. For instance, NDTV has a ‘second screen’ tab that allows a user to respond to live questions, post questions during shows etc. The idea for TV channels apps may not be so much to stream live but make that show or channel interactive in a real-time way. Today we have ESPN apps that show you the statistics of who’s playing, or apps for a TV series that dive into the world of the characters.

According to Anurag Singh, COO, AD2C, there are two types of apps when it comes to TV channels – those that stream live TV and those that allow for ‘second screen’ interactions. These are the ones that use the show to further engage audiences with live votes, polls, questions etc.

An app need not be entertainment in isolation; it can be monetised too. Vdopia has monetised ads on the m-app for popular TV show Comedy Nights with Kapil hosted on Colors. The android app for the show can be downloaded from the Google play store. The app provides a one-stop solution to catch up on all the missed episodes and download exclusive videos via app purchase.

Then there are apps like which follow a pay-for-content model. It is worth seeing whether a pay-for model in such apps will work with audiences as much as free TV show apps.

If you think that shows on mobiles are consumed only by the yuppies on the move, think again. Singh of AD2C reveals that women show a high usage of apps and many live TV streaming apps claim over 40 per cent viewership by females. Compare this with only 10 per cent users of mobile internet and it gives you an insight into the pull of these apps to the target audience. Clearly, women are hooked to beyond the idiot box. They possess the highest potential for entertainment shows on mobiles. That said different apps will have different audiences, very much like the shows themselves.

When one thinks of it, the growth of TV shows into apps is a natural progression, really. TV was only a one-way medium, streaming content from the TV set to viewers and praying it got watched. But over the last decade, with consumer behaviour shifting and media proliferation on the rise, consumers don’t just consume, they converse. They talk about the shows with one another no longer just in person but on social media as well. These apps can therefore also be integrated with social media.

Some experts in the mobile space opine that a mobile app can actually work as a remote control for a TV show. Not literally of course, but it has the power to lure a person to a particular show or even turn her off should it be badly designed. If you’re from the TV industry, mobile indeed is the space you should take seriously.