As consumers’ enthusiasm for social AR mounts, brands across industries are amplifying audience engagement with unique and memorable experiences. However, TV networks and streaming platforms have been especially swift to embrace AR, recognizing the technology’s ability to turn fans from passive viewers into active participants in the storylines of their favorite series. From whimsical effects to glamorous lenses, major logos are using AR to immerse audiences in TV shows’ worlds, prompting unprecedented excitement for titles.
Let’s explore three ways popular networks and streaming services are galvanizing and expanding their fanbases with social AR.
1. Promote a Series Premier
With new series dropping everyday, it’s all too easy for would-be-hit shows to get lost in a sea of recent releases. Rather than trusting that fans will stumble across premier announcements on their owned social channels, or relying exclusively on traditional ads, TV networks and streaming platforms can inspire organic enthusiasm for upcoming shows with memorable AR campaigns. By allowing potential viewers to experience a series firsthand through the camera, networks make audiences feel like part of a show even before it debuts—not to mention boost awareness with a wave of UGC.
To hype the premier of dark comedy “Good Omens,” for example, Amazon Prime Video partnered with Camera IQ to create an apocalyptic AR effect that invited fans to wish each other a “Happy Doomsday.” Those intrigued by the offbeat experience, which featured infernal flames and fish falling from the sky, could swipe up to watch the full theatrical trailer. TV enthusiasts rushed to try out the effect, helping it generate views and impressions beyond Amazon Prime Video’s own social reach and drumming up excitement for the show.
2. Engage Fans at Scale
In addition to driving awareness for upcoming releases, social AR can help TV networks and streaming platforms amplify conversation about ongoing series. As more and more fans share experiences with their communities, effects’ popularity snowballs, resulting in mass enthusiasm across new and devoted audiences.
Telemundo demonstrated AR’s ability to prompt a new wave of activity around a long-running series when it debuted a hit cross-platform campaign in advance of the 2019 “Miss Universe” season finale. Using Camera IQ, the network designed an effect that allowed any viewer to try on the pageant winner’s iconic crown for themselves, and published the experience to Instagram, Facebook, and Snap. Both contestants and everyday fans of the show leapt at the opportunity to participate in the cultural phenomenon, inspiring widespread engagement in advance of the season finale.
3. Celebrate a One-of-a-Kind Event
For TV enthusiasts, social AR breaks down the barrier between a viewer’s world and that of a show, allowing audiences to directly participate in a story’s unfolding. AR’s democratization of experience also enables networks to include fans in exclusive events and other important moments where IRL attendance is limited or impossible.
To celebrate its live coverage of the SpaceX Crew Dragon launch in May 2020, for example, Discovery used Camera IQ to craft an AR effect that transported fans into outer space. Featuring an accurate 3D model of the helmet worn by the mission’s astronauts, the experience saw promotion from the Discovery special’s host, Katy Perry, and quickly gained traction among audiences. Thanks partly to the effect’s popularity, the telecast emerged as the No. 1 non-prime telecast in the Discovery Channel’s history with 4.7 million viewers.
Viewers are always on the lookout for the next gripping series to binge, or event to tune into. But with consumers navigating more options than ever for digital entertainment, TV networks and streaming platforms need to make a meaningful impression on fans to capture their attention. From hyping a new comedy to promoting historic news coverage, AR effects take word-of-mouth endorsements to the next level, enabling marketers to assemble engaged audiences for any release.