Tripping up on the red carpet

Good point of view about the digital attempts around this year’s Oscars on the Iconoculture blog…

by Robert van Alstyne:

Any way you look at it, the 83rd Annual Academy Awards telecast was a dud. Fresh-faced cohosting talents James Franco and Anne Hathaway fell flat both critically and commercially. And ratings among viewers ages 18-49 were down 12% from last year (Variety.com, 28 February 2011).

But the accompanying online chatter soared. Twitter saw a volume of 36.4 million tweets during the five-hour telecast (PaidContent.org, 28 February 2011). ABC looked to join the dual-screen viewing frenzy by complementing its telecast with “Oscar Backstage Pass,” a mobile application that promised an inside look at Hollywood’s big night for just a buck.

What this actually amounted to was a spate of fixed-angle video feeds that users could click between to get a poorly lit glimpse of the Kodak Theater’s lobby bar or shakily shot take on the red carpet. It got worse when the curtain rose, with a snooze-inducing look inside the telecast control room featuring pumped-in muzak, and a pointless bird’s-eye view of the theater audience viewable only during commercials. Without the aid of curation, the user was always uncertain as to where she should be looking and when.

What made “Backstage” bunk was its complete social media disconnect, turning what might have been a seamless two-screen experience into a tiresome three-screen regimen for the viewer wishing to watch the telecast, use the app and enjoy Twitter witticisms simultaneously. To truly channel event-driven energy in the mobile space, seamless social media integration is as important as a Miramax-backed Oscar campaign.

[Iconowatch]