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Shazam Auto-Tags the iPad

Revamped Audio-Recognition App for Apple Devices Can Automatically Trigger Interactive TV Apps and Ads 5/23/2013 2:32 AM Eastern

Shazam is breaking out a revamped interactive app for iPads that introduces  an important, new “auto-tagging” element that can recognize music and audio from TV shows and TV ads playing in the background  without requiring any manual intervention by the user.

The auto-tagging feature is the most relevant one in terms of how the pay TV industry is working with Shazam to deliver interactive ads or other enhanced features (trivia, details about a show’s cast and links to more information) that sync up to what consumers are watching on television. Before the automatic feature came into play, users were required to press a button on the app to tell Shazam to “listen” for audio cues that, when recognized, would execute the interactive component.

When that automated feature is enabled (users can toggle it on and off), it ensures that the user won’t miss any audio-triggered interactive events. Shazam claims the auto feature can identify a Shazam-able song or TV show in “as little as one second.”  The new app is also capable of capturing those tags automatically and putting them aside for users to activate later on.

Having an automated option is important to advertisers that are delivering interactive messages via the Shazam app (in fact, Fox Broadcasting has signed on as a primary sponsor for the new app’s first three months on the market).

“We think second screen and live events help drive tune- ins, ratings and ad revenues as a result,” said Shazam executive vice president of marketing David Jones.

Shazam claims to have a global user base of 300 million, with 90 million in the U.S.  According to Jones, more than 10 million people have used the Shazam for Television service during the last year. More than 160 cable and broadcast channels in the U.S. are on board with it. Some relatively recent high profile shows or TV events that supported Shazam-enabled content included NBC’s coverage of the 2012 London Olympic Games, the Super Bowl, and Fox’s American Idol.

Shazam’s user base has given it a sizable lead on a group of second-screen specialists that are also focusing on the TV and includes Viggle, Dijit, GetGlue, and Comcast-backed Zeebox, among others.

Among other new additions designed to help users discover content, the new  Shazam app also features a new “discovery” home screen that highlights trending TV shows and songs that users are tagging most frequently. In addition to continent- and nation-wide views of what’s buzzing, the app’s new granularity also lets users discover drill down further to find out what’s popular in particular cities or, in some cases, individual neighborhoods.  

Shazam said the new version for iOS is a “universal app” that can work across the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad Mini, iPhone and iPod Touch. It expects to launch the new app on Android devices “in the coming weeks.”

September