A second screen New Year’s

By Natan Edelsburg 

Whether you were among the thousands of people in Times Square waiting for the ball to drop or halfway around the world, this past year you had the opportunity to experience New Year’s Eve like never before. The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment, organizers of Times Square New Year’s Eve, along with partners Toshiba and Livestream joined forces to make New Year’s Eve 2012 the most interactive yet by introducing the 2013 version of its Times Square Ball App.

The increasingly popular app, which was downloaded more than 296,000 times last year in the two weeks leading up to 2012, has become the go-to outlet for a second screen New Year’s experience.

Toshiba, the traditional TV company in the mix, provided app users with the chance to see their photos on the massive Toshiba Vision sign that sits directly below the Times Square Ball. Via the app, Facebook, and Twitter, users were able to submit photos and the photos with the most likes were displayed on the Toshiba Vision sign at the top of each hour. For New Year’s 2012, nearly 60,000 photos were submitted via the Times Square Ball App during the six hour celebration, and it’s likely that that number was far surpassed during this year’s celebration.

It is becoming increasingly popular for TV shows to crowdsource and integrate tweets and fan photos, but it’s a rare opportunity for a company like Toshiba, whose hardware hosts these programs, to have the opportunity to do the same. I know if I were outside in sub-40 degree weather for six hours, I would’ve been trying my hardest to get on the big screen.