Last Thursday TV3 launched its 'second screen companion app' ShowPal and since then it has garnered an average of 3.5k downloads per day. That's impressive.
But what is ShowPal I hear you ask? And if it's so darn popular why haven't I heard of it I hear you demand. Sheesh, I say (yes, I say that kind of thing, I grew up with Saved By The Bell), relax. I'll explain. Let me tell you about what we feel is the next logical step in home entertainment.
I could say that the point of ShowPal is for TV3 to provide their viewers with an enhanced and convenient experience, and well, I would be perfectly right. But the way I see it is that it makes the way people watch TV easier. Now before you go giving cheek and start asking what's so hard about watching TV, just give a long hard think about how people watch TV in this modern world.
You stick on Coronation Street. It's been a few weeks since you've seen it and there's another character that all the Weatherfield crew know already but you're in the dark. You notice on your Twitter feed that all of those Corrie fans are aware of something about that character that you couldn't possibly comprehend. So you set about googling what the hell they're on about and end up missing the whole damn episode because your butterfingers won't do what they're told.
ShowPal exists to do that sort of graft for you. I hadn't seen Corrie in months but the right side bar on screen showed me little tidbits of character info that helped put whole scenes into perspective. It also gave me helpful points of information. The first scene on Monday night's episode saw Tyrone offer Hayley an innocent cup of tea. When I looked down at my iPad screen I was tickled pink to see a tea fact pop up. Did you know that tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water? I would have told my friend that fact and got them to stick on the kettle but nobody else was with me when I watched. Later it gave me a recipe to Betty's hotpot which I will definitely try once I get a couple of housemates. Definitely.
Earlier on I had watched Come Dine With Me and the ShowPal people were totally on form. When one of the bolshy, loud contestants guessed the hosts age wrong a link to a 'Guess My Age' game immediately appeared. Oh how my cat and I laughed.
A more personal type of interaction from the ShowPal pals cropped up from time to time, the best ones during Celebrity Apprentice and You're Fired. At one stage during the panel discussion comedian Katherine Lynch claimed to not know anything about Mikey Graham and Boyzone and ShowPal piped up 'You must be spoofin', Katherine. Everybody knows Boyzone'. Puss and I rolled about laughing.
The app follows audio technology so when it hears what show you are watching on TV3 it kicks into action. The home screen is customised to whatever show that's on and features the Twitter feed for the show's hashtag, a section for polls that occasionally appear where you can vote for the best romantic pairing of all time, for example (Paddy and Marlon from Emmerdale won) and the right side bar where the information and links scroll by.
ShowPal was officially launched to the public last week. TV3 say that it's a one top shop for all the information you require when watching your favourite shows and I have to agree. The only problem is that all of the facts and info that appear can distract you from what's actually going on on TV. However, that is the way people watch TV now so it's perfect really. Surveys popped up every so often to let the ShowPals know how they were doing. One of the questions asked was if I would recommend it to friends and I ticked yes, I definitely would (if I had any).
Right now ShowPal is number one in the app store, beating RTE Player and Netflix. ShowPal is free to viewers to download on their iPhones or iPads and when you download you get the chance to enter ShowPal's amazing €10,000 giveaway competition. The closing time for entries is midday, October 28th so you had better get your skates on!
Fancy giving ShowPal a go yourself? Sure why don't you download it right here - it won't even cost you a penny!