Mobile Trend to Watch: Apps That Interact With TV Shows

Think about it: How often do you post status updates or look up something on Wikipedia or IMDb about a show you're watching? A new kind of entertainment app hitting app stores provides viewers with a secondary screen to supplement what they're already watching. I got a chance to demo the latest second-screen app, USA Network's for its wrestling reality show of the same name. I'm not the biggest wrestling fan, but I was impressed with how tightly the app integrates with the reality show.

isn't the first second screen app; the Academy Awards had its own second screen app last month. The Oscars (sadly, for iPhone only) let viewers exchange snarks about celebrity fashion, trade predictions and get real time updates from the show while it aired.

What makes the Tough Enough app different from other TV show apps that just show supplemental content is that it provides viewers with real-time interaction while they're watching the TV show. For example, the Tough Enough app shows lets fans connect via a chat client on the app while the show is airing.

Another cool feature is the ability to unlock exclusive content, like videos or interviews with the stars of the show, by plugging in certain keywords into the app. You have to be tuned in to the show, however, to get these keywords as they are promoted in-show, online or via various Tough Enough social networking accounts, like Twitter. You can also connect with Facebook or Twitter and brag to your friends about what you unlocked.

This sort of app makes sense for wrestling fans since the viewers tend to be younger and into social media, according to Jesse Redniss, vice president of digital of USA Network. But look out for more second screen apps coming from the USA network this June. The apps will debut alongside six new shows on the network, Redniss confirmed. It is likely that other networks will jump on board and offer their own second screen apps.

The free app is now available in the iTunes App Store for both the iPad and the iPhone as well as the in the Android Market.