When To Hang Up Your TV Phone Apps

Are you a TV show without a phone app? Better not be. Better yet -- are you a canceled TV show with a phone app? What now?

Industry estimates are there are some 20,000 entertainment iPhone applications in existence, out of some 80,000 estimated overall apps. (Google's Android-based phones have around 5,000; Blackberry and Nokia phones have around 1,000 each.)

Phone apps are extra gravy for shows like "Gossip Girl," "Lost" and "The Office". But what do apps do for small TV brands? They may get a little more awareness,  possibly a few more advertising and/or promotional dollars.

If you are a Food Network fan, the network's phone app (Food Network Nighttime) will help you figure out what to make for dinner, with perhaps Bobby Flay himself directing you around grocery aisles.



If you are watching a Bloomberg TV show, its mobile app will help you sweat over whatever's left of your 401K. ESPN with its ESPN ScoreCenter will show you where the Yankees and/or Angels have gone wrong so far in their playoff series.

What's the downside to a phone app? Very little, I'm guessing. Software and technology development costs aside, the only hitch might be a TV app lost in an ever-bigger ocean of apps.

You might ask: "Hmm... Does this show I'm watching on Icelandic lifeguard-saving dogs have a phone app?" When I asked one entertainment mobile financing executive about this, the answer came back: "Whatever you are thinking about, there should be an app for it."

Still, after a while, you figure there's got to be some waste. Some TV marketers may be cluttering up consumers phones with lame products and/or attached advertiser messaging, which could harm the integrity of their main video product disseminated on traditional TV airwaves.

For canceled TV shows, phone apps can become a nuisance of sort. Do we still need an app for "Harper's Island," CBS' limited mystery murder series from the summer? Well, it could return and move to Manhattan Island.

Until then, can we quietly kill (delete) some TV shows ourselves?

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