Umami is a new iPad app that aims to bring an enhanced, second-screen experience to broadcast and cable TV programming.
Second screen apps are becoming standard fare for networks. Using audio fingerprinting technology, these apps can tell what you’re watching — and provide an updated, customized experience based on the show.
At the Mashable Media Summit last week, second screen experiences were highlighted as one of the major media trends of 2012. Until now, however, most of these experiences have been crafted specifically around one show or network.
This requires users to download individual apps for the shows or networks they frequently watch. Umami aims to work with a large cross-section of programs and networks, both broadcast and cable-based. The app offers quick access to cast and crew listings, descriptions of other recent episodes, quick links to official social media accounts and related tweets from across the web.
How it Works
After downloading Umami for the iPad [iTunes link], users just need to start the app. It will listen to the audio coming from a TV or computer and use audio fingerprinting to identify the show.
The basic information Umami offers is surprisingly solid. Even for a program like Scrubs, which no longer has new episodes but is frequently seen in syndication, the app offers up quick access to Wikipedia information, episode summaries and cast members’ IMDb links.
For current shows like Two and a Half Men, the app can go a step further and offer links to official Facebook and Twitter accounts for the show and its stars.
Networks or television shows that join Umami’s publishing platform, naturally, have more potential. The app has signed on a number of launch partners — including the National Geographic Channel — and select programs will take advantage of more enhanced features, such as additional information about a topic discussed in a show and links to photos.
A Solid Start
In a demo that the Umami team showed me earlier this fall, I got a glimpse at some of the integration potential for news programming. I like Umami’s user interface, and appreciate the broad approach the company is taking to the second screen.
While it’s clear that partnerships using its publishing platform will yield the best results, even the more basic integration offers up a kind of TV Guide on steroids. I love having quick access to links related to what I’m watching.
It would be great to see Umami evolve into partnering or linking with some of the existing social checkin platforms, such as GetGlue. Part of Umami’s value play is that it is one app, rather than a collection of separate apps. In that vein, embracing other types of checkin services would give it even more value for end-users.
Umami is free and available now. Let us know what you think about second-screen apps and TV personalization in the comments.