The Facebook add-on market is getting crowded, so is the market for apps on smartphones and tablet computers, so, it’s sort of a big deal these days when something rises above the others, breaks out and becomes a hit. So is the story of Yap.TV. It’s an app for television viewers who keep their handheld device going while they watch. The AFP Newswire is reporting via Gadgets.ndtv, that Yap.TV has now gone international, with editions of the software, which came out originally just last year, now available for those people living in nineteen countries (mostly in South American and Europe) besides the United States. TechCrunch explains that the booming popularity of Yap.TV is due to the way people are changing the way they watch television.
It used to be that people sat transfixed as they watched their television shows, stirring only during commercials to go to the bathroom or get something to eat. But now, because of cell phones, and iPads, etc. people give just part of their attention to their shows, while other parts are given to what’s happening online. And that, TechCrunch says, is people are cruising websites, watching video content or more importantly perhaps, communicating with one another, sometimes talking about the very show they are watching. That’s where Yap.TV comes in. It’s an app that connects people watching television with friends that have “liked” the same show on Facebook, and who are watching at the very same moment. Thus, the app extends the idea of family talking about a show together while it’s airing. This is particularly abundant with reality, game or contestant oriented shows such as American Idol. Who doesn’t want to Yap with their friends while contestants are vying for their votes?
AFP says what Yap.TV has done is make it all easy. Users that download the app and have a Facebook account, don’t have to do anything except tell the app the name of the Facebook account. Yap.TV does the rest, checking out which shows have been liked, which have been liked by friends and then linking everything together. It also knows which shows are playing when on TV, and offers suggestions regarding friends that might want to discuss the show. The app makes it all seamless, serving as a sort of emcee for friends as they watch television, virtually, together, allowing for commenting or group discussions or invite others.
The folks at Yap.TV have clearly been sniffing the air and have caught the scent of a new phenomenon, the extended mutual viewing of television and likely are going to reap the rewards of that discovery.