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Tuning in to TV: ABC hopes ‘Revenge’ app will boost live viewership

- - Thursday, May 10, 2012

ABC and Yahoo will experiment on the season's last two episodes of "Revenge" with a smartphone and tablet application designed to encourage more people to watch television live.

There's an enticement, too. People who download and click onto the "Into Now" application during the showings of "Revenge" on May 16 and 23 become eligible for a free summer trip to New York's Hamptons beach area, where the drama's story is based.

The companies are trying to take advantage of the growing trend of multiscreen use, or people who spend time on their phones or iPads while the TV is on. Yahoo's "Into Now" app tries to make all of that easier.

"The world changed dramatically with all the smartphones and tablets," said Adam Cahan, vice president of "Into Now." "People are multitasking while they are watching TV. We came up with a way of connecting that community."

When used, the app can identify what show a viewer is watching and immediately spot Facebook friends who are doing the same thing, Mr. Cahan said. It taps into Twitter feeds about the show, including those from actors and producers. Trivia and other details about the show also are readily available, he said.

"We know the finale is going to be big," said Victoria Chew, vice president of strategic marketing partnerships at ABC. "We know the story lines are going to be things that the fans are going to buzz about and talk about when it's over. We wanted to encourage fans to watch it live."

While most television is still viewed live, the rapid growth of digital video recorder usage and video on demand means many more fans are watching programs later than when they are aired on TV, and networks have a harder time measuring this viewership. It is considered a factor in a major ratings slump at the networks this spring.

The Nielsen company estimated that 44 percent of all U.S. homes with TVs had DVRs in April, up from 19 percent in September 2007. Nielsen said 8 percent of all TV viewing is now material recorded on DVRs.

Comedian Brand to host MTV's movie awards show

Russell Brand is returning to the MTV stage. The 36-year-old comedian has signed on to host the 2012 MTV Movie Awards.

"This MTV Movie Awards will be more impressive than 'The Avengers,' and you won't have to wait an hour for someone to Hulk out," Mr. Brand said Thursday.

After hosting MTV's Video Music Awards in 2008 and 2009, Mr. Brand took on leading roles in "Get Him to the Greek," "Arthur" and "Rock of Ages," which hits theaters next month. This is his first time hosting the MTV Movie Awards.

The top contenders at the 21st annual MTV Movie Awards are "The Hunger Games" and "Bridesmaids," which have eight nominations each, including best cast, breakthrough performance and movie of the year. The show also includes offbeat categories such as best kiss, best fight and best on-screen dirtbag. Fans can select the winners by casting votes online.

Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield, Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg are among the stars set to appear at the awards, which will be presented June 3 and shown live on MTV.

Samsung presents new premium television

South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. on Thursday unveiled its new-generation premium television as global manufacturers seek to drive slowing sales with lucrative models.

The world's top TV maker will start selling the 55-inch model, which features advanced display technology, in Korea in the second half of the year, said Kim Hyun-Suk, the head of Samsung's TV unit.

The ultrathin television has an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display that produces brighter and more vivid images than flat-screen panels, Samsung said in a statement after showing off the TV at its headquarters at a news briefing.

OLED, now used in mobile devices such as smartphones, is seen as a next-generation technology after the current LCD and LED displays.

"This ... will be the premium of the premium TVs," Mr. Kim told reporters.

It will cost at least $9,450 in South Korea, more than double the price of current high-end sets.

The model will go on sale in the United States and Europe after its domestic debut, Mr. Kim said without elaborating on dates.

Compiled from Web and wire reports.