Simpsons World Comes Alive
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US TV network builds an impressive experience around the streaming animated series
US television network FX’s new channel FXX, and its streaming service FXNow, have launched Simpsons World, a website and app that lets fans of The Simpsons watch every episode (all 552!) of the animated comedy on any computer or mobile device. The site, created by Huge, LA, lets any fan with a connection tap into a treasure trove of clips from the show, and authenticated viewers, people who subscribe to a participating cable provider, can watch full episodes at their leisure.
Viewers can browse the content by season and episode, and can see a bar chart of popularity to see which seasons and episodes other fans are flocking to. Additionally, viewers can tap into playlists of episodes and clips created by the site’s curators.
Simpsons World also has a robust search function, which allows fans to search by their favourite characters to see each and every clip and episode that character appears in (we don’t envy the thousands of hours of data entry that likely took). Simpsons World goes beyond episodes and clips, too. Fans can watch interviews with the show’s creators, read up on the latest Simpsons news and, of course, share any and all of their favourite pieces of content across their social networks.
Next year, FX plans to add even more interactive functionality to the site, with a ‘script view’ that shows the episode’s script scrolling next to the action, character profiles that give more background on show favourites, a customisable playlist creation tool, dialogue search and an interactive Springfield map that will let fans roam around the fictional town and watch scenes that have taken place in a particular setting.
Perhaps most importantly, early next year Simpsons World plans to give viewers the ability to make their own clips from their favorite episodes, which will then be shareable across all social networks. In other words: get ready to see a lot more Simpsons content in your Facebook feed.
Contagious Insight /
Marathon follow-up / The launch of Simpsons World follows the much-heralded Simpsons Marathon, during which the FXX network aired every episode of the show in chronological order over the course of 12 days. The marathon drew an average of 1.32 million viewers over its run, and skyrocketed FXX from 49th to first in viewership rankings in the 18-to 49-year-old demographic over the period.
‘Rather than “How do we keep the momentum of that marathon going,” which I don’t think is possible because that was a really special one-time only event, [we’re asking] “How do we continue to expose to the new viewers who have found us that we have an awful lot of treats to offer them?”,’ Chuck Saftler, president of program strategy told Mashable about FXX’s Simpsons plans.
Standalone Show / It would seem that we’ve hit a tipping point in traditional television networks entering the streaming game in just the past month, with HBO announcing it will offer its HBOGo streaming service as a standalone option and CBS unveiling its All Access streaming subscription. Simpsons World is slightly different from those offerings in that it focuses on a single show, creating a go-to destination for fans of the Simpsons, rather than lumping the legendary animated series in with other FXX content.
It’s too early to understand the effects of this splitting, but we can see both pros and cons. On the positive side, fans of The Simpsonscan fully immerse themselves in the 26 seasons of the show without any other distractions. Of course, for FXX, that comes with the downside of not being able to easily promote other content on the network to viewers. For now, FXX is running advertisements during the streamed episodes, though, which gives it ample opportunity to promote its other properties.
Experience around content / FXX clearly spent a lot of time thinking about how users will interact with the content on Simpsons World, offering entry points for everyone from casual viewers to the most die-hard fans. Things like character search, and especially the forthcoming dialogue search, play directly into the fandom of viewers who have watched The Simpsons for the quarter century that the show has been on the air, while shorter clips and playlists make it easy for new fans to immerse themselves in the experience.
Key to creating Simpsons World was acquiring the rights to stream the show’s content in various formats. ‘What was really revolutionary was the way that we were able to acquire the non-linear rights for the show,’ John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions, told Gizmodo. The ability to chop and curate The Simpsons content gave the Simpsons World creators the tools to craft a superior streaming experience, and FXX had the presence of mind to share that ability with fans in the near future, turning a passive viewing experience into a passionate creating and sharing experience.
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