UK broadcaster Channel 4 has an online catchup and archive TV service called 4oD, which launched an iPad app earlier this year. While the app that was released is usable and functional, it’s nowhere near as interesting as what could have been.
London-based developer The Noble Union pitched for the job of building the app but didn’t get the gig. Now it’s released the concept video it produced, and it has some really interesting ideas that TV catchup apps from other broadcasters could benefit from.
Features in the concept include hooks into iTunes to buy music from shows directly in the app; social commenting features for programmes; push notifications for when new episodes of your favourite shows are available, and a ‘download to own’ that lets to buy programmes to keep.
To be fair, the practicalities of the concept may have put Channel 4 off commissioning it. In-app purchases of music and full shows would require handing a 30% cut to Apple, not to mention the additional deals probably needed with the production companies involved. Also, this concept emphasises exploration of deep catalogue shows. While Channel 4 offers this via YouTube in the UK, its iPad app only covers a selection of recently transmitted shows at present.
Still, it’s easy to see how TV apps of the future could probably take some of their cues from the ideas presented here.