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MTV have launched http://backchannel.mtv.com for popular ‘reality’ series The Hills.

A chat room opens for each episode during its airing, at which time registered users can post comments and chat with each other in real time as the transmission progresses, as well as ‘voting’ on other users comments to gain points, taking it from simple instant messenger to a gaming model.

Why blog this? There have been a number of research projects in the past which show that many people are active online at the same time as watching television, either sitting with a laptop, interacting with a mobile device, or just multitasking with a desktop machine in the front-room or near a telly. By creating an official channel where active discussion of the content can take place amongst a number of users, rather than just one-to-one conversations via IM, MTV have an engaged and actively commenting user base which they can listen to, even take part in. Adding a game style element adds a competative edge which will drive users to interact further.

Update: Contagious have written a piece on Backchannel going into more detail on the service.

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  1. […] to debates In New Concepts, User Involvement on September 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm Similar to MTV’s backchannel, which we posted a few days ago, the excellent Current.TV are going to be utilising Twitter to support discussion around the US […]

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