In 2010, ABC premiered My Generation, a mockumentary style show that followed the lives of fictional teenage students. Part of the premiere included the promotion of the show’s companion app; the first of its kind.

Experiment in BroadcastThe app used Nielsen’s Media-Sync technology and listened for audio watermarks with the broadcast to sync the TV with the content delivered to an iPad.

Once the user was synched, they were offered bonus info, trivia, polls and more. Content extras were pushed throughout the broadcast – questions about the viewer’s high school experiences and information about the cast are examples. Answering polls revealed the statistics of other users who were answering them at the same time across the app.

It was a successful broadcast-to-app execution, but the low ratings for the show took the app offline. ABC went on to use the same app design, realizations, and style to create a similar app for the 8th season of Grey’s Anatomy.

Since that show was already successful and had a dedicated audience, they weren’t necessarily counting on app technology to drive viewership, but instead to offer viewers an added bonus.