The NBC soap opera Passions, which now airs only on the DIRECTV satellite service in the United States, has been made interactive. Viewers can respond to on-screen questions during the daily drama. The interactive application has been developed by Ensequence. The software company has also appointed a new chief operating officer, based in New York.
After an eight year run on NBC, Passions now airs exclusively on DIRECTV on channel 101, four days a week. The daily daytime soap is based in the fictional town of Harmony in New England.
“Adding interactive television content to the Passions programme enables DIRECTV to enhance viewer affinity for the Passions show in a fun and engaging way,” said Dalen Harrison, the chief executive of Ensequence.
Five new questions are offered to viewers each day during broadcasts of the show, and viewers can see immediate results to test their knowledge.
It perhaps begs the more important question which is why anyone would want to do this.
At least DIRECTV will be able to find out who does. Viewer metrics that can be captured include the number interacting and how long and how many times they interacted.
The popularity of television trivia quizzes in magazines suggests that there may be some appeal in such interaction, but experience elsewhere has shown it to be limited in interactive television.
Passions has a passionate community web site online. It will be interesting to see whether they will interrupt the viewing to answer questions about the show.
DIRECTV is using the Ensequence on-Q Publish software suite to update the questions and answers regularly.
Ensquence has appointed Peter Low as its president and chief operating officer, based in New York. He was most recently executive vice president of cable distribution and marketing for MTV Networks and BET Networks.
The appointment suggests that Ensequence recognises the need to move from being an interactive television software provider to become more involved with the broadcast production and distribution business.