Fox to Crowdsource Its Fringe App

Fox (s NWS) has teamed up with the Appnation conference to crowdsource its next mobile application for the hit TV show Fringe, allowing anyone to submit an app and compete for a $10,000 prize.

Together, Fox and Appnation are launching the first-ever “Pimp My App!” contest to call on the developer community to create the most compelling iPhone, iPad or Android app they can for the show. Once registered, developers get a set of technical guidelines and multimedia assets to work with. The developer of the winning entry will also get a chance to meet with Fox’s digital team to work on having his or her app put into production.

The contest is a relatively cheap and easy way for Fox to go to market with a compelling mobile app, without having to spend a lot of time developing it in-house. Bill Bradford, Fox’s SVP of Digital Media, said in a phone interview that the contest will also give Fox’s digital team exposure to new ideas that, even if they’re not chosen for the final Fringe app, could be applied to other mobile apps the team might develop in the future.

“We acknowledged that there’s an incredible amount of innovation in the development community, so we decided to crowdsource this app and see if there are new ways to innovate [on mobile platforms],” Bradford said.

Fox also decided to open this type of contest with Fringe, Bradford said, in part because the show would appeal to the development community, and in part because the show lends itself to innovative ideas. “There are some shows that wouldn’t invite as much creativity, but the storyline of Fringe and some of the mythology in it… opens up a lot of creativity,” he said.

The crowdsourcing of Fox’s Fringe app is just one way that the broadcaster has worked to increase engagement for its shows through social media and other means. Last year Fox launched a contest to determine the biggest fan of hit show Glee, and also integrated Twitter streams into repeats of some of its more popular shows. More recently, Fox has rolled out “Superfan” video players for some of its properties, hoping to capitalize on new social elements to increase engagement with the shows.

The Fringe app contest starts today, with submissions due no later than Friday, September 3. Apps will be judged on their ease of use, general look and feel, innovative features and ability to deepen consumer engagement with the Fringe brand. The winner of the contest will be announced at the inaugural Appnation conference, which will be held September 13-4 in San Francisco. In addition to the $10,000 first prize, a second place winner will also be chosen and awarded a $1,000 prize.

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