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ABC gives Oscar viewers front row access via mobile

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC are putting Oscar fans at the center of a mobile companion application that marries live video and content.

The Oscars app is available for free download on iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle Fire devices. With consumers most likely using multiple devices while watching the awards show, the app points to the growth in second-screen companion guides.

?The passive has gone interactive,? said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer at Hipcricket, New York.

?Tens of millions will likely have a tablet within reach while watching the Oscars while most of the remaining audience will at least have a mobile phone at the ready,? he said.

?In my house, the red carpet is a bigger draw than the show itself. This year, we actually will be on the go, so a stream of the event will give my wife the access she would otherwise lack.?

Mr. Hasen is not is not associated with The Academy or ABC. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Neither company responded to press inquiries.

The 85th Academy Awards will air on ABC on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. eastern time.

Stream on mobile
The app has two different modes ? one leading up to Sunday's show and one that is meant to be used during the show.

Before Sunday, the app serves as an information hub. Consumers can learn about nominees, watch movie trailers and browse through photos.

Additionally, users can submit their picks via a virtual ballot. Voting is tied to a Facebook account, which users can then access in the future from any device.

Content can then be shared via Facebook and Twitter.

JCPenney?s Oscar sponsorship is also incorporated into content with advertising units. Consumers who click on the content are directed to the company?s mobile and Web sites.

Ready for prime time
One of the more unique parts of the app happens on Sunday when content changes gear to focus on live streaming.

For example, the red carpet will be live-streamed and consumers can see the winners backstage.

More than 12 video streams let users pick what video they want to watch. Users can watch the show?s correspondents or choose a particular camera view to get a better view of the show.

In addition to the Oscars app, the content is also being pushed out via the Web site.

With consumers plugged into their smartphones and tablets while watching awards shows, consumers rely on mobile to share what they are watching.

Smart brands take the opportunity to not only talk to consumers but also build stronger one-on-one relationships.

"As with the Super Bowl, I'm most interested in how advertisers will use the occasion to build engagement and community,? Mr. Hasen said.

?Rather than pre-Oscars, and on Sunday, what happens next Tuesday?? he said. ?The wise brands will keep the conversation going that could lead to more sales and brand loyalty."

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York