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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]

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Oscars offer 360 digital experience

Given that I’m currently in Los Angeles and the build-up to the 83rd Academy Awards has already begun, I thought I’d post a quick update on all things digital surrounding this year’s Oscars.

It’s a big push from the Academy this year to involve as many people as possible, thus the tagline You’re Invited.

In a bid to attract a younger (and inevitably larger) viewership, young stars James Franco and Anne Hathaway have of course been recruited as the hosts, but so too are there a wealth of new online initiatives surrounding the event for the first time.

Between 20 to 30 cameras have been set up to offer online viewers a broader experience than ever before. Alongside the usual TV coverage, there is access to everything from a thank you cam to a press room cam. For just $4.99 fans can also purchase the premium All Access service which offers a 360 degree camera.

Those using an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch can also download the Backstage Pass app which similarly provides live streams from the various cameras around the Kodak Theatre venue in Hollywood.

Across platforms, the coverage spreads not only from the red carpet and ceremony itself, but backstage to see things like the winners getting their statues engraved, and a look inside the Governor’s Ball celebration thereafter.

The celebrities are more into digital this year too with live tweets from host @JamesFranco and other stars during the show.

A great start – there were already 1600 tweets per minute about the Oscars at the beginning of the red carpet coverage.

Happy watching!