For the 2000 Superbowl, my flatmates and I stayed up to watch Sky’s coverage of the game. We also hooked up my IBM Thinkpad to our 56k connection and played an interactive game from ABC. The interactive game synchronised to the NFL game, offering stats and profiles of the playmakers. The service also had a device whereby you guessed the next play, building up points for correct guesses. Despite our pitiful internet speeds I remember this being a very slick experience that added enormously to a sport I only had a passing interest in. I’ve yet to experience as engaging a ‘second screen’ experience.
This year it might change. A number of factors are making synchronous interactive experiences of great importance to television broadcasters. It is also an area that new tech companies, like Zeebox, are innovating in. The factors relate to matured broadcast technologies, advanced audience-owned technologies and cultural changes in television commissioning.