Posted November 2, 2012 4:14 pm by with 0 comments

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TVGuide commissioned a study on TV websites and mobile apps and they discovered an interesting fact: 86% of the 1,000 people surveyed said the “useful” was their top priority.

Now, that might seem like a no-brainer, but we’re talking TV here and “entertaining” didn’t even land in the top three.

In addition to Useful, 83% of people said they valued High Quality and Trustworthiness. As a rabid TV fan, I understand. If my favorite show is on at 9:00 it should appear on the app at 9:00 in my time zone! (GetGlue, I’m talking to you!)

In the “high importance” category we have Entertaining (75%), Expert (73%) and Genuine (72%). What does genuine even mean in this context?

Of “moderate importance:”

  •     Innovative (69%)
  •     Constantly evolving (68%)
  •     Is an established brand (60%)
  •     Unique (59%)
  •     Cool (54%)

From this list we see that people aren’t interested in new and different. They’re happy with the same old routine as long as it gets the job done. And with only 60% putting their faith in a brand name, that leaves the door open for new folks to enter the market.

What landed on the bottom?

“A good way to connect with others” which only received 47% of the vote. Most TV apps have a social element but the majority of users don’t care. In the apps I use, the social component is just a trigger for a Facebook or Twitter update. It’s about me telling people what I’m watching, which is good advertisement for the show and the app. It’s a one-way street. I’ve heard tell of chat room options where you can have a running conversation while you watch but I’ve never tried one. It’s too distracting on a first run show, but I might be convinced to join a chat while watching a rerun.

The takeaway here is that useful tops everything. Pretty and unique won’t get you very far. Entertaining is good but if that’s all it does it’s going to be deleted in a month. No, if you want people to use your app on a regular, long-term basis, then it has to provide a service – like finding out when your favorite star is going to pop up as a guest on an old TV show. Now that’s what I call useful.