BBC Antiques Roadshow

BBC Antiques Roadshow

Client: BBC
Concept: Second screen playalong app enabling the audience at home to guess item valuations
Platforms: iOS & Android
Technology: Audio watermarks for time-sync
Country: UK
Launch Date: January  2013

The Antiques Roadshow playalong app for iOS and Android was the BBC’s first ever synchronised companion app. It is synchronised in the sense that the app automatically detects which episode the user is watching and precisely what time it is in that episode. This enables users to interact with the TV show with pin-point accurate timing.

In the case of Antiques Roadshow, the app lets users play a valuation game, guessing the value of each antique featured in the show with the correct answer revealed the moment the show’s experts give their final opinion.

“We wanted our first live and synchronous companion experience to appeal to a mainstream audience and create a real event in the living room for families across the UK – the Antiques Roadshow mobile app does just that. It’s the kind of technology that makes the whole experience really simple and feels like magic.” Victoria Jaye, Head of IPTV and TV Online.

The precise time synchronisation is achieved by using audio watermarks hidden in the soundtrack of each episode and it works whether you are watching at the time of broadcast or if you record the show and playalong later.

The Antiques Roadshow app has been a huge success because it lends structure to an activity people already enjoy doing, i.e. arguing with each other about the antique values while they watch the show. And it’s compelling because it lets whole families play in competition with each other on their own phones and tablets.

“The new app is great fun. I love guessing the values of objects, I only wish I got it right more often! Now that you can play on smart phones and tablets, the world of antiques is certainly not stuck in the past.”  Fiona Bruce, Presenter