Sensis - Advertising Solutions for SME's
In 2011, Sensis, Australia's larget print directories business was entering a digital transformation.
As a Digital Producer in a 4-person Digital Innovation team, I led design and engineering efforts of Coco, an iPad application that capitalized on the emerging trend, second-screen Television.
At the time, two significant behavioral changes were redefining the entertainment landscape driving networks to evolve rapidly to keep their shows, content, and ad buys relevant to a demanding consumer set.
- People were consuming television via time-shifted DVR, online (legally), online (illegally), mobile device, internet streaming to TV, and a wide variety of other methods.
- Viewers now consume multiple forms of media at the same time, such as watching TV on a television while checking Facebook / Twitter on a computer.
In this new age of Television, consumers are their own broadcasters continuously expressing their thoughts and opinions online while simultaneously engaging in other online behaviors. Viewers could simultaneously share opinions, discuss content, text votes, etc. with other viewers, known and unknown to them, while watching live.
Therein lied a massive opportunity to capture a greater share of audience and attention.
Consumer expectations were ever growing and increasingly fickle. Consumers want to consume TV content whenever and whereever suits them. If the network didn't comply, they would simply find the content through illicit sources.
The first-generation iPad was released in 2010 by Apple, which gave TV networks the opportunity to deliver rich media experiences outside the TV. One that prolongs the experience past a specific weekly time slot.
Obsession with mobile and apps continued to grow and multi-tasking over multiple devices became the norm. For TV advertisers, capturing the attention of audiences during commericial breaks was challenging.
Three applications came into market that are focused on Foursquare-like check-ins specific to television.
- GetGlue, Tunerfish, and Miso ask users to check into a specific show, web video, or form of entertainment
- Check-ins are shared in a news stream and allow users to browse and discover trending content
- Allows consumers to bring that experience into their own lives through badges and stickers
Coco enables audiences of live television to ‘play TV' by participating in a series of gameplays on a second device.
- User can view upcoming TV shows together with live games
- User can schedule a reminder for an upcoming TV show
- User can join a live game session
- User can view the current question / gameplay
- User can input their selection
- User can view result
- User can see how they compared to other live gameplay participants
- User can play a Wildcard on an active participant and kick them out of a leading position
- User can earn Wildcards through points and answering correctly
- User is notified when a Wildcard has been played
- User can see live view of all gameplay participants
- User can view score for active gameplay
- User can view total score all all gameplays
- User can earn badges specific to TV shows by playing, loyalty and app exploration
- User can view a live Pulse feed of Twitter and Facebook posts shared by TV show viewers
Content management system (CMS)
The CMS allowed the TV producer to trigger all Gameplay activities from creating modules (multiple choice, image reveal, opinion poll etc) to tallying game results and awarding a winner.
- Producer can disable a users' account if they are reported
- Producer can reset a users' username and avatar
- Producer can search for a username
Before TV show
- Producer can create / edit / delete a TV show
- Producer can create / edit / delete a TV session
During TV show
- Producer can view a TV show
- Producer can view a TV session
- Producer can create a TV challenge
- Producer can push challenge to all live users
- Producer can resolve challenge for all live users
- Producer can edit / delete a TV challenge
After TV show
- Producer can resolve a TV session
The TV Producer role was critical in bringing Coco to life. The Producer was the puppeteer pulling levers to ensure audiences were receiving questions on their device in a timely manner. We tested across devices, OS and connectivity scenarios to ensure we accounted for lag and load during gameplay.
With a working prototype, we invited 15 participants to test the Coco experience in a lounge room environment to mimic the home.
The goal of testing was to get user feedback on the gameplay experience, specifically the frequency of gameplay sequences. A challenge every 5 minutes at the beginning of an ad break was the sweet spot.
Coco was developed by a 12 person engineering and design team, in 100 days. Sadly, days from launch the company changed direction which led to Coco being deprioritized. On a positive note, senior leadership were able to find an interested acquirer to take Coco to market.