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Showtime creates tactile Homeland mobile ad for dramatic effect

Showtime has partnered with Immersion Corporation to use its haptic technology in mobile ads, with the goal of increasing viewer engagement and retention.

Immersion?s haptic technology, which features tactile effects synced with videos, will be featured in the television network?s trailer for its hit drama Homeland. Immersion claims that haptic technology is the best way to communicate with mobile device users through touch.

?This is a new experience ? we?re changing how content is enjoyed on the mobile phone and on tablets,? said Jason Patton, vice president and general manager of content and media business at Immersion. ?Content producers are always looking at how they can enhance the viewing experience. 

"The enhancement increases consumer recall. This is an unlocked potential of mobile that we?re bringing to reality.?

Third sense
Showtime?s trailer for the upcoming Season 4 premiere of Homeland has been synced with haptic technology and offers users a much more interactive trailer viewing experience.

The minute-long clip features vibrations that are activated during suspenseful moments. In one scene teaser, a bomb explodes, causing the mobile device to shake and offer the impression of a bomb going off in the user?s hand.

Showtime is hoping for the trailer to entice more consumers to tune in to the next season of Homeland, and to drive more downloads of its application. Any user who downloads a Showtime Anytime app update on an Android device will be able to watch the enhanced Homeland trailer.

The television network believes haptic technology will heighten drama and give consumers even more of a sensory experience.

"Our team of haptic engineers authored the tactile effects in house and worked directly with Showtime to make sure that the effects were right for the trailer," said Mr. Patton. "The quiet, no haptics is as important as the big explosion.

"We?re hoping that Homeland fans enjoy the experience. The response that we?ve received so far is positive."

Haptic technology is currently not available for iOS platforms. However, it is available on any Android mobile and newer Android tablets that contain motors.

Haptic on the rise
Haptic feedback has long been a staple of the gaming world, but has only recently seen a foray into mobile. Immersion has worked heavily with consoles in the past, but is confident in its imminent integration into mobile devices, especially where gaming is concerned.

?Within a few years, every game will have haptics in the mobile space,? Mr. Patton said. ?There is an increase in enjoyment, in recall, and in completed views and shareability.?

Immersion?s audio engineers are trained to work with haptic technology, which they then integrate into apps via code. The company believes that haptic is the future of technology, and that consumers will respond enthusiastically to video content possessing motion that enables an all-inclusive experience.

?We believe there is a creative aspect to everything,? said Mr. Patton. ?Educating the mobile space is important, but the creative side is important, too.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York