As Major League Baseball moves into playoff and World Series season, its televised games will now be Shazam-able. The new feature is part of an alliance between Shazam and MLB Advanced Media, which is Major League Baseball’s interactive company. Activating the popular audio-recognition app during a game telecast will bring up relevant game and team details for the game. Users can get up-to-the-minute box scores and stats, video highlights, social sharing tools and expert analysis. The app also will help promote MLB’s popular and fee-based MLB At Bat app. The partnership will activate all post-season play, from the Wild Card games to the World Series.
Shazam claims 80 million people in the U.S. have the app already installed on their phones. The MLB partnership highlights the company’s efforts to evolve from its roots as a song recognition engine to a fuller second-screen experience for TV. In recent weeks, Shazam enabled recognition for all TV programming. The app has now activated complementary content, trivia game engagements and social activity around most shows. The company says it is working to expand the number of shows with which it is partnering to provide richer exclusive content.
Shazam is in an increasingly cluttered universe of second-screen apps from both third-party providers like Yahoo’s IntoNow and Zeebox, a very strong UK player that just entered the U.S. market. Many programmers are issuing their own show or network-specific apps to lure TV viewers onto their second-screen content rather than have them wander away from the first-screen experience. TV providers often argue that third-party apps like Shazam are not competing with their own first-party apps so much as capturing the more casual viewers of a program. Show-specific apps are designed for the core loyalists and fans of a particular program, while third-party apps like Shazam and IntoNow, it is argued, serve a broader swath of less devoted viewers.
The industry continues to debate whether and when smartphones and tablet devices in the living room are proving to be a complement to or a distraction from the main TV screen programming. Some research suggests that people are using their devices to do anything but follow and enhance what is on the first screen, including unrelated Web browsing, email and chatting among friends. Still, other research shows that some TV ad spots result in spikes of Web look-ups from devices, suggesting that marketers and media can use the second screen as an activation mechanism on calls to action from the first.
We will be exploring many of these points at the Oct. 23 OMMA Video On Devices event in Los Angeles. The event will take up the issues of creating, distributing, measuring and monetizing video content as it moves across TV, Web, tablet, smartphone and connected TV screens.