TV By The Byte: Monty Python Repackages Sketches For iPhone
The app format allows publishers to rethink how they service consumers in real-time and in real life. But it also allows for new content packaging possibilities. In a novel blend of DVD-like programming and app economics, Monty Python’s Flying Circus Python Bytes app for iOS pulls together 22 of the comedy troupe’s most famous sketches into a single impulse-buy ($2.99) app. Additional packages of similarly priced sketches are coming. The app was developed by Heuristic Media.
The 55 minutes of comedy is enhanced with commentary on each sketch or animated interlude by back stories from John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. The user can create his own playlist or just shake the device to randomly select another sketch.
The app is a hefty download for an iPhone at over 600MB, since the experience does not require connectivity once it is installed. The value add of the color commentary from the cast works very well to keep the app from feeling like a mere repackaging effort. It is one of several Python extensions into the mobile world. The excellent companion app to the re-release of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” arrived just months ago.
The app suggests some interesting new configurations for TV content. Just as Apple’s iTunes model broke down album and DVD packaging traditions, the app not only deconstructs old notions of reselling TV but it adds new elements. The more flexible interactivity an app allows the user to play with the content in new and fascinating ways. A TV series can be parsed into new and previously unimaginable packages that can be priced at trivial levels, yet can achieve considerable scale if well marketed. As DVD sales wane and much of the back catalog of TV media becomes available on streaming media services, apps provide programmers with something more than another shovelware venue. Fans of great shows often recall moments, not just full episodes. Our way of remembering treasured media seems ready-made for mobile “bytes.”