- Nickelodeon upgraded its Screens Up app with augmented reality (AR) features that let kids interact with related content on a mobile device while watching the network's live TV shows. Aside from the interaction with live TV, the iOS and Android app also has AR stickers and games available at any time, according to a press release.
- During the Kids' Choice Sports Awards on July 20, users could interact with the show by casting votes to impact how the show played out, taking polls about athletes and creating memes. The four AR moments during the broadcast included games and an interactive basketball match.
- Meanwhile, Nickelodeon seeks to expand the app with more experiences and support for other shows. It introduced a virtual reality (VR) experience based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Comic-Con last week. The "Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Live" experience immersed fans in the upcoming reboot's world and chat with two characters from the cartoon series.
As a popular broadcaster of programming aimed at kids, Nickelodeon needs to adapt to the changing viewership habits of younger audiences who have never known a world without smartphones and tablets. With these AR and VR experiences, Nickelodeon can better capture the attention of these young viewers who are likely to be using mobile devices while watching TV.
Nickelodeon has taken several steps to weave AR features into its mobile apps. The Viacom-owned network in March introduced The Sky Whale app, a game that averages about 2 million active users a month, has a 360-degree immersive experience that challenges users to steer a digital narwhal in a race to collect items and points. The Do Not Touch AR app, which builds out the "Do Not Touch" button found in the Nick app, lets users see randomly generated digital animations and interactive experiences in their real surroundings viewed through a smartphone camera.
Apple and Google's support for AR app development has opened the door for broadcasters and publishers to more easily create fresh experiences on mobile devices. Nickelodeon isn't the only company focusing on AR and mobile tech to engage younger consumers. Snapchat plans to debut a show that lets viewers immerse themselves in scenes from a docuseries that stars teen YouTube beauty and fashion creator Summer Mckeen. "Endless Summer" will debut in September and will have an AR lens that users put themselves into the show's settings and share the experience. The shows are also planning to integrate AR "portals," where viewers can drop themselves into scenes using the Snapchat camera.