It seems like everyone is jumping into original programming these days, including DirecTV with its first show, Rogue, premiering this Wednesday night. Just like House of Cards on Netflix, you have to be a DirecTV subscriber to watch. And DirecTV is going one step further, launching a second-screen app on iPad and iPhone to coincide the premiere.
Built by Magic Ruby — which also built the Sons of Anarchy app — the Rogue second screen companion syncs with the show to provide expanded content like background info, cast bios, insights from writers and producers, trivia and extra video clips. Viewers can also authenticate their Facebook or Twitter accounts to comment from the app.
While second screen behavior continues to become more commonplace in TV households, the jury is still out on whether viewers prefer show-specific apps to a one-size-fits-all solution. Startups like Zeebox, GetGlue, Viggle, IntoNow and ConnecTV work across just about any channel you’re watching, and Twitter and Facebook are conversation platforms across all media. Show-specific apps, in the meantime, increasingly appear to be 1) a marketing tactic around the launch of a new TV show or 2) a unique interactive experience that can’t be captured on one of those other apps, usually tied to a game or reality show of some kind.
Of course, there are always exceptions, and we’re still very early in the evolution of the second screen. Rogue will roll out one episode at a time, premiering this Wednesday, April 3, 9pm ET/PT on DIRECTV channel 239.