Just in time for the season finale of the Real Housewives of New York City-spinoff, Bethenny Getting Married?, Bravo is introducing an iPad app that it hopes will have users promoting the show as it airs. The iPad app features the NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) cable channel’s “Talk Bubble,” which was formerly called “Virtual Viewing Parties” until last spring, as a way to drive more viewers to its broadcasts and downloads and online advertising dollars.
Since Bravo, like most cable channels, is restricted from offering live viewing on its sites, the idea of the Talk Bubble is the next best thing. Plus, Bravo is hoping that as viewers get more used to mobile devices for sharing details about shows, it can employ more sharing features that allow the cable and online offerings to play off each other.
The timing sounds about right, since many popular shows like Mad Men often make it as a trending topic on Twitter during air times. And last week, a startup called Philo received a small amount of funding to build its business, which is basically a “Foursquare for TV,” where viewers “check-in” to their TV shows.
“Bravo Now restarts the conversation around live viewing,” said Lisa Hsia, Bravo’s SVP, Digital Media. “It’s a great companion application for viewers who want to deepen their experience while they watch the shows through voting, polling and connecting with Bravo talent, friends and fans — allowing for a real-time watercooler experience. At the core, it’s a companion application to our linear content, combining the fun functionality of the iPad and marrying that it the intense engagement of fresh content — a win-win for our audience and for us.”