Imagine you're watching Jax blast some turf-encroaching Mexicans on Sons of Anarchy when a screen notification offers you the opportunity to buy an SOA shot glass to celebrate. With Fox's new SOA Gear app, it's not that far-fetched.
Beginning with the new Sons of Anarchy episode on November 1, the SOA Gear App will sync up with live broadcasts to bring you bonus content and swag to the iPad on your lap. Ladies and gentlemen start your iPads!
The app will also sync with the Season 3 Blu-ray using BD-Live to give you navigation control over what you're watching. When, say, Gemma Morrow struts onto the screen wearing an especially revealing tank, the app will present you with the chance to buy the necklace that's dangling in her cleavage. We haven't seen a full list of the 120 items that wil be for sale, but we do know that it will be a mixture of SOA branded gear and non-branded items — everything from leather biker gloves to badass replica rings and bootcut Seven Jeans. Couldn't they have started with a show with better dressed characters? It's not ALL about selling you stuff — the app also features behind-the-scenes footage for all you die-hards out there.
Is this kind of shopping experience what people are looking for, and more importantly, will anyone buy in by downloading the app? Fox and FX are right that Sons of Anarchy fans are very loyal. Presumably they're hoping the promise of exclusive footage will lure people in. It's hard to say without actually using the app, but the overall system seems a little clunky. Fox did tells us that this was something of a beta test for Apps that might come in the future.
Get ready people. This is only the beginning. Half of us are fiddling with some gadget or another while we watch TV. Smartphones, tablets and internet-connected TVs are only getting smarter and more pervasive. As our toys become more connected, you better believe that the merchandising executives at huge networks, studios and record labels are going to be trying to stuff revenue-boosting products down your throat.
One day a product-pushing notifications might not seem like such a horrible interruption. People might appreciate the reminder: "Gee whiz, I really have been meaning to get some trashy jewellery."