It had to happen, an app based on a TV soap. Eastenders fans will of course be “gutted” that Corrie gets an app out first, but the North was always first in innovation.
ITV has moved to bridge the gap between two of the world’s biggest entertainment industries, launching an online social gaming application for its flagship soap Coronation Street.
Social gaming has seen a rapid growth in adoption thanks to the popularity of social networks, namely the site with more than 500 million users worldwide, Facebook. Coronation Street’s new virtual street, dubbed Corrie Nation, will launch on Facebook and ITV.com on 1 November – a month before the UK’s longest-running TV soap celebrates its 50th birthday.
Users will compete against their friends to build the 2D Wetherfield, adding on-screen characters and performing tasks to progress to further levels. As ITV looks to closer reflect the increasingly fragmented audience watching British soap operas, players of Corrie Nation will choose tasks based on what they think characters should be doing on the small screen in the living room.
The game, which is being produced by ETV Media’s social gaming subsidiary Enteraction, is an attempt by ITV bosses to bolster brand affinity with its programming after a recent Ofcom study showed media consumers were increasingly spreading their attention across multiple devices.
Sixteen- to 24-year-olds, the demographic most prevalent in social gaming, are spending less time watching TV, the study showed; while computers, mobile phones and handheld gadgets make up 58% of this group’s media diet.
“The ability of people to surf the web on their laptop while also watching TV has given people a licence to roam while staying connected,” said Peter Phillips, Ofcom’s strategy and market developments partner.
Corrie Nation is the brainchild of Patricia Wagstaff, director of digital productions at ITV Studios, who said the move also opened up another avenue for further revenue generating.
“Coronation Street enjoys a unique place in the hearts of the British public and with an appeal which spans generations, the brand has the potential off screen to match its phenomenal on-screen success,” she said. “Corrie Nation is a great example of engaging with the Coronation Street audience in new ways and exploiting this world-class brand to deliver further revenues to the business.”
The social gaming start-up Zynga, behind Facebook’s most popular game FarmVille, is valued at more than 0m and has 246 million monthly average users.
Zynga threatened to quit Facebook earlier this year, disgruntled at the 30% commission demanded by the world’s most popular social network every time its virtual currency is used. Facebook duly stepped down and entered into a five-year strategic relationship with the company, emphasising the importance of gaming to the platform.
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