Sundance Channel gets social with new apps

By Alex Weprin 

Sundance Channel is planning a fun social push tied to some of the network’s original programs. Not content to simply create a generic second-screen experience, the AMC Networks-owned channel is also trying to push users to create compelling and fun content of their own. We spoke to Sundance Channel general manager Sarah Barnett about the network’s plans.

“We really believe in creating apps that we hope in their own right are truly compelling,” Barnett told Lost Remote. “People share things that are good, they don’t share things that are cynical, or purely created for marketing purposes only, without having true creative merit. We think these apps do have true creative merit.”

The two apps, created in partnership with digital production company Tool, are called “Be Original” and “Rectify: 20 Year Timeline.”

The Be Original app lets users collaborate with others to create an animated story based off of themes from Sundance programs. Users can upload their own photos and mix them with stock photos from the shows. The end results will live on a dedicated URL for easy sharing with friends.

The Rectify app is a bit different, in that it places users into a situation similar to the one shared by the protagonist of an upcoming series of the same name. The show follows Daniel Holden, who returns to his family and community after 20 years in prison. The app lets users sync their Facebook pages, and generates a fictional look at how the user’s Facebook profile may look if they were sent away for 20 years.

“I believe and hope that there is as much sincere attention brought to bear in developing these pieces of content, as there is with any piece of content we develop,” Barnett says.

While the goal is to draw attention (and hopefully eyeballs) to Sundance programming, but also to try and attract the type of social engager that will stick with the Sundance brand.

“Just as with every other network we are constantly looking at how much this space is always changing, and really measuring effectiveness,” Barnett says. “We have gone beyond measuring how many people are engaging, but asking ourselves the question of, not all engagement is created equal, what kind of engagement is going to translate into people who are really going to come on and watch our shows?”

The Be Original app can be experienced here, and the Rectify app can be experienced here.