The three-screen Oscars
by Ana Vasile, published on 3.03.2011
ABC, the exclusive Academy Awards broadcaster, registered an audience of almost one billion viewers worldwide. The 2011 Oscars brought a technological novelty in order to enhance the audience’s experience. ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences created an unprecedented “three-screen” (TV, mobile and internet) mechanism that gives access to behind-the-scenes content.
All Access and 360 camera for the cybernaut
On Oscar.com, the Oscars’ official website, the cybernaut was invited to get into an event director’s shoes: « This red carpet event has a new director – you. » Multiples cameras with 360 perspective were installed all along the « red carpet », that’s how the user could glaze at his own rhythm at the actresses there and their gowns.
During the show, the cybernauts could pick their favorite angle between 15 cameras installed in the Kodak Theater, obtaining this way a continuous access to backstage and live-stream. ABC used the same mechanism to broadcast on the internet the highlights of Governor’s Ball. Oscar All Access is not conceived as a free service. The access is to this content costs $4.99.
Backstage Pass: iPhone and iPad app
The same content, with the exception of panoramic cameras, is available on iPhone and iPad app « Oscar Backstage » for $0.99. The app was available before the event and was frequently updated with videos and nominees information. During the show, the iUsershad the possibility to watch the red carpet events, the ceremony’s highlights, on scene moments as well as backstage content.
The technology changes the experience
One of the spokespersons of Oscar.com, emphasized on the importance of these two services, not for replacing the TV experience but to enhance it “both the Backstage app and Oscar All Access are designed to be a companion to the TV broadcast and offer insider access to enhance the experience as opposed to replacing it”. The will to broadcast independent content on both screens give a transmedia touch to the Oscar All Acces mechanism: it’s still possible that someone not watching the broadcast would still be able to follow the action on stage.
The Oscars broadcast experience was enhanced by the instantaneous comments on Twitter, by following the hashtag This year, the Super Bowl already proved the efficiency of multiple screen usage and of in engaging the public, by reaching the highest ratings since 1987 with 106.5 million viewers.
Meanwhile, the internet is flooded with informative about the Oscars; for example Livestream.com and AP are partners on their own live stream on the event. Others companies like MTV and PopSugar will cover the red carpet and the backstage events. Bottom of line, Oscar.com doesn’t hold the exclusivity on the Oscars’ stream.
The ABC’s initiative to multiply the screens in order to enhance the viewers’ experience is appreciable, but the fact that they decided to charge the access to this service in somehow questionable. If the purpose of three-screen experience is to attract a bigger audience, one that is normally less reachable on TV, by proposing a subscription service didn’t the producers restrained its efficiency?