Please leave your mobile phone on during the movie: Screen concurrency hits the cinema

App Movie poster

Movie poster for App, the movie you watch on two screens (Image App official site)

If you turn your mobile phone off or switch it to silent at the cinema, you are showing your age!

A new breed of movie is arriving in which you need to leave your phone turned on so you can get the full experience.

For a number of years now, we’ve been discussing with clients the impact of ‘screen concurrency’, the habit many consumers share of interacting with two or more screens at once.

The most common examples are:

  • Your computer screen at work and your mobile by your side
  • Your television at night with your tablet/mobile/laptop by your side

And, of course, one day we’ll have Google Glass where you wear a screen to rule all screens!

Enter the movie, App.

This could change the world of advertising and entertainment in one hit. Or click. Or tap. Or scroll.

A thriller encouraging an audience habit of horror

App is a Dutch thriller directed by Bobby Boermans and at 35 places throughout the movie, special sound waves we cannot hear, trigger content on the mobile phones of the audience.

Before seeing the movie, which is ironically about an App causing havoc, viewers must download a free app that contains all the rich features.

According to Paula Bernstein from Fast CoCreate, some examples include:

  • Actors trapped with a ticking time bomb while audience members get to see the actual countdown timer on their phones
  • Actors texting each other during a party scene while audience members get to read the SMS messages

While interacting with entertainment is not completely new (theatre has done it for centuries, television does it in fits and starts, and the movie industry even tried introducing smell-o-vision in 1960), this new attempt uses a combination of new technologies all readily available to audiences.

Movie buffs might react against this move as the nightmare to end all nightmares but for those of us marketing businesses, the question posed is; what does this mean for our use of creative interaction with the marketplace?

The real 3-D movie experience

You could argue that App actually delivers a true 3-D experience because having action seep through your phone is more interactive than wearing a pair of polarised viewing glasses.

Whether you see this movie or not, it deserves an award for looking at an old habit or practice and attempting to breathe new life into it.

This ‘habit’ of re-envisioning things or merging actions and expectations from one field with another, is where innovation can come from.

My hope is that this film will remind us all that doing things the same way we’ve always done them might not be the best way they CAN be done; for your efficiency or for the market places unrealised desire.

For a taste of movie, I’ll leave you with the shorts:

[embedplusvideo height=”337″ width=”550″ standard=”″ vars=”ytid=4Ed6FWLP3cs&width=550&height=337&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=0&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep1416″ /]



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