Last updated: September 30, 2011 - 8:50am
For television programmers, one screen is no longer enough.
The biggest broadcast and cable television channels are racing to launch tablet apps linked to their broadcasts and used simultaneously with the TV shows. The hope is that viewers will tune in live and interact. The offerings include apps from NBCUniversal's Bravo and News Corp.'s Fox that present material such as photos, quotes, polls or background about particular scenes as a show plays. Viacom and CBS have apps that display updates about shows from Twitter or Facebook in real time. USA Network's TV comedy-mystery series "Psych" has an app that asks users to enter keywords that flash during the show's graphics to unlock content like behind-the-scenes footage and games. The efforts aim to preserve the economic pillars of the TV business that are eroding: loyalty and live viewership. As channels and ways to watch them proliferate, fewer viewers are tuning in live. Among viewers aged 18-to-49, 17% fewer watched a commercial on a major broadcast network last TV season compared to the 2007-2008 season. That is a financial risk to networks, which generally get paid by advertisers based on how many people watch their commercials live or within three days on DVR.
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