Sending mixed messages about the future of television, MTV has launched a new free WatchWith iPhone and iPad app, designed as a viewing companion meant to be enjoyed simultaneously with on-screen broadcasts of its popular shows. An online version is also available via the network’s website.
Billed as a “DVR for social commentary” (read: aggregator and recorder of online feeds), the downloadable application lets you browse through online comments about each program, so you can scroll through a sea of snarky remarks. Able to filter dialogue so your pals’ Facebook and Twitter feeds take precedence over the unwashed masses’ flood of juvenile Jersey Shore jokes, the program serves up a steady supply of the public’s most insightful and absurd remarks.
Capable of tracking your time zone and what shows are being watched in real-time, it attempts to pair running commentary, photos and videos with the action happening on your boob tube’s screen. Online dialogue is also recorded and matched to the timeline of the show, in case you want to cross-reference the best one-liners each time Snooki does something obnoxious during repeats.
Designed to work in tandem with series like Teen Wolf and Awkward, the stars of each show will further be posting comments and tweets live throughout episode premieres. MTV claims the “second screen” experience is designed to be a lightweight, easily browsed supporting piece featuring factoids, trivia and extras, rather than replacement for actual broadcast series.
Making the case that the future of TV may lie with group viewing and added displays, not pop-up windows, games or other on-screen interactivity, it’s an interesting experiment. Succeed or fail, at least you can share comments expressing your opinions about the project, and supporting shows, for thousands of unsuspecting others to read as well. “OMFG look at JWoww!” here we come.