ABC’s My Generation iPad App First to Use Nielsen’s Media-Sync Technology

abc my generation ipad app

There’s been a ton players in the Social TV space as of late — each with their own apps and spin on how things should work. Now, ABC has jumped in with an iPad app for their My Generation TV show, powered by Nielsen’s new Media-Sync technology, which “listens in” when you begin watching an episode to syncs related interactive content (i.e. polls, quizzes, show details, bios, advertisements, etc.) to enhance the experience via a second screen (kind of reminds me of the Meta Mirror concept we covered last month). The beauty here — once you get past the fact that the app needs to hear what’s going on in the room for the first few seconds to capture “audio watermarks” embedded in the program — is that Media-Sync can function in tandem with live TV or recorded programming from your DVR. Expect to see more apps for mobile and tablet devices to leverage Nielsen’s Media-Sync technology in the near future — hopefully, ones that cover more than just program at a time.

Interesting side note… Nielsen’s Q1 2010 study on people’s TV viewing and Internet behavior:

In Q1 2010, Nielsen data showed that nearly 60% of people were watching TV and using the Internet on their computers simultaneously. With more and more consumers going on online while they watch TV, many viewers have already been engaging in a two-screen experience, primarily using social media for ‘background chatter,’ or activity in the margins.

Further to that, we know from a Nielsen survey last month of more than 4,000 mobile subscribers who reported downloading a mobile app in the previous 30 days, that social networking apps are among the most popular, with 49% of smartphone users and 32% of feature phone users reporting to have used one in the past 30 days. As connected devices such as touchscreen tablets gain in popularity, mobile apps are likely to flourish there as well.


First App Built on Nielsen’s Media-Sync Platform – Using Audio Watermarks to Synchronize Mobile Devices to TV Programming

Disney/ABC Television Group and The Nielsen Company today announced the debut of ABC’s My Generation Sync iPad App on the App Store, a first-of-its-kind app that enhances the experience of watching “My Generation” on TV by providing synchronized interactive content and social media functionality on the iPad.

Released one week in advance of the September 23rd premiere of the new ABC primetime drama, “My Generation,” the innovative app is built on Nielsen’s Media-Sync Platform which allows mobile apps to automatically detect and synchronize with TV programming using audio watermarks. ABC’s “My Generation” Sync app for iPad allows fans of the new ABC series to unlock synchronized content and features, as well as share with other viewers of the program through their social networks.

“In the ever-evolving television landscape, we are constantly looking to create immersive viewing experiences around our shows,” says Albert Cheng, executive vice president, digital media, Disney/ABC Television Group. “Together with Nielsen, we’ve created a sync-to-broadcast app that appeals to both fans and advertisers, and holds an array of possibilities for deeper engagement with our content and our advertisers’ brands.”

ABC’s new “My Generation” Sync App is the latest example of innovation from the Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG), and follows the recently released ABC Family Chatterbox app and The Secret Diary of Ashley Juergens enhanced eBook. DATG was the first to bring full episode video to the iTunes store and just this past April, DATG delivered ad-supported video to iPad via the acclaimed ABC Player App. The app has proven to be a tremendous success with over 900,000 downloads and more than 8 million episodes started. Additionally, DATG launched an ABC News App in July 2010 that has to date been downloaded more than 420,000 times.

iPad users who download ABC’s “My Generation” Sync App will be able to automatically synchronize to any episode (live or time-shifted) of the series and access exclusive interactive content produced by ABC as a companion to that specific point in the episode. Companion content will include polls, trivia, behind-the-scenes insights, production details and social networking features. The application will also allow consumers to interact with companion messages from sponsors of “My Generation.”

Nielsen’s Media-Sync Platform is a complete application development and operations environment that allows TV content producers and broadcasters to deploy sync-to-broadcast mobile apps in a rapid and scalable manner. Media-Sync relies on audio watermarks that are inserted into nearly every TV program in the US to support Nielsen’s industry standard TV audience ratings service. While still inaudible to the human ear, the latest generation of watermarks can be detected and decoded through the microphone of mobile devices in a normal living room setting. The Media-Sync Platform is a product of Nielsen’s joint venture with Digimarc Corporation, a leading provider of media identification solutions.

“The Media-Sync Platform was born out of Nielsen’s continuous investment in leading-edge audience measurement technologies and we believe it paves the way to fundamentally change the way consumers interact with TV programs and TV advertisements,” says Sid Gorham, Nielsen’s EVP, Strategy and Business Development. “We are thrilled to collaborate with the innovative team at Disney/ABC to develop the first Media-Sync app and look forward to a broader industry wide launch in early 2011.”

Premiering Thursday, September 23, (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT), ABC’s new scripted drama, “My Generation,” follows the personal stories of nine friends. The promises they thought their futures held, as well as how far they’ve come and just how they got here are all told through the camera of a documentary film crew. “My Generation” stars Michael Stahl David as Steven, Jaime King as Jacqueline, Kelli Garner as Dawn, Keir O’Donnell as Kenneth, Mehcad Brooks as Rolly, Julian Morris as Anders, Daniella Alonso as Brenda, Anne Son as Caroline, Sebastian Sozzi as Falcon and Elizabeth Keener as the filmmaker. Based on a Swedish format entitled “On God’s Highway,” “My Generation” was created and written by Noah Hawley (“The Unusuals,” “Bones”), who is also an executive producer along with Warren Littlefield, Henrik Bastin, Peter Magnusson and Martin Persson. Craig Gillespie directed the pilot. The project is from ABC Studios.

ABC’s My Generation Sync App is available from the App Store on iPad or at For a video demo of ABC’s “My Generation” Sync app, visit http://

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