Many companies have tried to marry the second-screen experience with viewers’ watching habits. Twitter conversation lends itself well to live watching when a program is aired; but what if someone prefers to watch TV through an on-demand service or digital video recorder? How about navigating the conversation on an entire season of a popular Netflix show without spoiling an episode you haven’t seen yet? That’s where a site like Beamly comes into play.
Beamly is a platform that integrates the sharing and curating experience to create a “frictionless” experience and shorten the amount of steps necessary to interact with other fans. This is especially useful when audiences are watching at different times, but also creates an easy-to-find show page for related news and content about the show.
In an interview with International Business Times, Beamly CEO Jason Forbes explained that Beamly is primarily targeted at millennials who are cord-cutting on cable and watching their shows at different times. “Their consumption experience is all around on-demand, and we architected the site to flow where the fish are and create a 24/7 experience,” Forbes said.
Beamly, which underwent a rebranding in 2014 from Zeebox, adopted the phrase “frictionless fun” to describe the goal for its user experience. There are options to rate news, vote on shows, create quizzes and share photos and memes with ease. This includes exporting Beamly content to other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. “It’s moved from a second-screen experience to a 24/7 destination for TV,” Forbes said.
“We spent a huge amount of time with millennials, like thousands of millennials per day,” Forbes revealed on the methodology of Beamly’s approach to their audience. “[We] interviewed them on how they best liked to engage on TV-related content.” From that data, the company's focus shifted from building up its app presence to focusing more on its ease-of-access for the user. Forbes cited the Netflix decision to stream in high definition as an example. When made to click on extra options, users engagement dropped off dramatically.
To use Beamly, users register and create an account, like on any social media platform. Then, they join the communities pages (which resembles a Facebook Fan Page, but with more accessible tabs) of the shows they enjoy and become active members by participating in the conversation. They share content, discuss plot theories or read the latest news about their show. Users can even avoid spoilers by marking which episodes of a show they have seen, and the system will filter future spoiler data out of their feed.
That ease-of-access for users is at the core of the new “frictionless fun” campaign. Forbes found that minimizing the steps needed for users to share content and interact with other fans was key for returning audiences. The instant gratification of constant interaction kept users on Beamly longer. “We found that they are really powerful ways to drive greater levels of engagement and sharing,” he said.
Forbes cited popular shows among millennials like “The Walking Dead” and “Pretty Little Liars” as a few examples of Beamly’s most active show communities. Beamly and its working partners NBCU, Viacom and TV Network aim to transform “fans into superfans” of their shows. With current unique users numbering around 10.4 million, Beamly hopes their unified platform will entice more viewers to become participants in their TV experience.