American Idol app gives smartphone users exclusivity

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American Idol is an early adopter in the mobile space. The show has been working with AT&T for years to let viewers text in to vote on their favorite performers. So it makes sense that the brand is extending its mobile reach with a new smartphone application that gives fans access to exclusive content available on Apple's iPhone and iPod touch and the Google Android phone.

The new application, which is part of a partnership with FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) and mobile applications firm Zumobi, follows this season's top 13 finalists.

“It is a way to keep in touch with the show when you are out and about. You can learn about the performers and their lives,” said John SanGiovanni, co-founder, VP, product design at Zumobi. “We're capturing exclusive videos of these performers, where they talk about their backstories and motivations, and give a deeper and more personal view.”

The application, which costs $1.99, includes videos, photos, blogs and biographies. The content will be updated regularly to keep consumers coming back. In total, 78 exclu­sive behind-the-scenes videos will be released weekly between now and the finale.

“One of the most interesting things about the show is that these are just ordinary peo­ple,” SanGiovanni said. “Every once in a while you get a sense of who they are, but these videos are very cool because they give you a window into the idol [as a] person, not just the idol [as a] performer.”

The application also links directly into iTunes so that consumers can purchase songs from the show. As new songs are released on the show, they will appear in the iTunes store.

In addition, the application can be cus­tomized so consumers can vote on their favorite performers and track their ability to project who will progress and who will get voted off of the show.

The application also will render content from the American Idol WAP site for the iPhone or the Google Android phone.

At this point, the application is purely Ameri­can Idol branded; product placement inside the application is under consideration.

“There might be some brand placement inside the application, but it would have to be premium product placement that doesn't get in the way,” SanGiovanni said.

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