Last year’s official Oscars App won an Emmy for Creative Achievement in Interactive Arts, but the one for the 84th Academy Awards takes it to an unexpected new level. This year’s is a second screen experience for Sunday’s telecast, of course, but it also has exclusive content, unparalleled access, live updates and other features that start in the bright sunlight of the red carpet arrivals and run all the way through the midnight glamor of the Governors Ball.
The free app was developed by the Academy and Disney/ABC Television Group’s Digital Media Team. “Our team really listened to what fans had to say last year, and made a huge effort to build on the things that worked to make them even better,” said Karin Gilford, senior vice president of Digital Media for ABC.com.
People who have downloaded the app already have access to original video from last year’s show, photos and Twitter integration in its new magazine-style format. Additionally, all video views are tracked through iCloud, so viewers can stay synched across multiple iOS devices.
A content highlight of the app goes live on Sunday. Four special camera views will be available to users. Users can choose to watch them on a grid all at once, zero in on any one they want, or opt to watch the default live experience. Once in a camera view, a ticker will display over the video to tell viewers what is happening on other cameras so they can switch over if something piques their interest.
These four cameras are: the Thank You Cam, which offers winners an extended opportunity to thank their supporters without the music cueing them off; the Backstage Cam, which captures sound bites, backstage action, short interviews and behind-the-scenes footage; the Control Room Cam, which adds to the pressure on the director by allowing users to watch him in action; and the Press Room Cam, which shares what happens when the stars leave the Academy Awards stage into the area reserved for the world’s press.
“Oscar My Picks,” one of last year’s most popular features, is back in an updated version as well. The interactive game has viewers fill out a ballot with their Oscar predictions, calculates players’ accuracy as the envelopes are opened, and shares the game with friends via Facebook.
“We love the level of interaction this app provides our fans,” said Christina Kounelias, chief marketing officer, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “It pulls back the curtain and takes viewers on a backstage experience that is fun and engaging. It allows fans access and vantage points that guests in the theater don’t have.”
The 84rd Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, February 26, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network.
“Many iPad, iPhone and iPod touch owners use their device daily while watching TV to look for show-related information,” said Gilford. “Our goal is to utilize the best digital technologies to make sure those fans are having a really full, immersive experience leading up to, during and after the Oscars. We want this to be the next best thing to attending the show itself.”