TV Apps

2nd Screen Summit: Dish Opens 2nd-Screen API To ‘Trusted’ Partners

Khemka Seeks Standardization of Apps across Channels 6/27/2013 5:50 PM Eastern

New York — Vivek Khemka, Dish product management senior VP, used a keynote address at the S3 2nd Screen Summit during CE Week, here Thursday, to reveal that the satellite-TV provider is opening its second-screen application programming interface (API) to “trusted third-party partners.”

The goal, he said, is to generate a variety of aggregated second-screen apps that Dish subscribers can use to build a richer, more enjoyable user experience across all of the content options available to them on the pay-TV platform.

Khemka pointed out that Dish is one of the only pay-TV service operators offering a dedicated second-screen app with full sync control of live TV and DVR functions, on-demand search, and social media (Twitter and Facebook) integration.

“From a second-screen perspective — if you look at the remote control, it hasn’t changed much in the last 15 to 20 years. It’s an important part of the user experience as a touch point for our interface,” Khemka said.

Dish sees the emerging second-screen trend as an opportunity “to change how people interact with their TV,” he said.

“What we have seen with our second-screen app usage is that a lot of people use it to discover new content — whether on demand or live TV based off of what’s hot or social recommendations from friends. They are using the second screen to discover a lot more shows across all of the content they are subscribed to.”

Khemka said the second-screen experience is more rewarding “when the same app works irrespective of what channel you are watching.”

“We see some fragmentation in the market where if you are watching a certain show, you might get a second-screen app on that show, but the minute you change channels that app becomes useless,” Khemka said. “Also, these apps have content sources, so if you are watching an NBC show, for example, you get some content with it that may be behind the scenes content, or social-media Twitter content, but if you tune to an ABC show, you may be getting something completely different.”

“What we would like to see happen in the second-screen space is some sort of standardization across content, across what’s available for second screen content, how these second-screen apps access content and we would like to see more aggregated second-screen apps versus discrete second-screen apps,” Khemka said.

Opening the Dish API should help to jump-start some of that standardization as well as produce apps that enable access to second-screen apps users like best — “whether it be the ZeeBox app or the Dish Explorer app,” he said.

He explained these “trusted partners” will have access to the same second-screen APIs Dish uses for its Dish Explorer feature.

Dish Explorer is a second-screen application that essentially replaces a standard remote control with a social-media-enabled, content-rich touchscreen. It features full Twitter and Facebook integration, with sidebars to outline what friends and community are watching. The app also ranks current shows based on their popularity on Twitter and organizes programs by category, genre, etc.

At this stage, Khemka said, it’s too early to determine what Dish’s “trusted partners” might develop.

“I could see something like a best second-screen sports app, or if you are, say, a Broncos fan, an app that automatically sets the Dish DVR to record games or Broncos news reports.

“I think it will spawn innovation while opening the platform for TV apps on the second screen that developers have not had access to today,” he said.

Read more at TWICE here.