Cartoon Network is giving viewers a shot at appearing on TV, via a new app that lets them record videos of themselves reciting catchphrases from the cabler's shows and interacting virtually with characters.
The CN Sayin' app, available for Apple iOS devices, doesn't allow free-form user-generated video a la YouTube. Instead it's organized into four weekly "activities," such as prompting fans to record their own version of "Homies help homies, always," a line from the "Adventure Time" series.
"This ties into our campaign promoting quotes from the shows," said Michael Ouweleen, SVP and group creative director at Cartoon Network. "We're trying to nurture this culture of bringing fans into the programming."
The Turner-owned network hopes to increase tune-in by featuring the best of the CN Sayin' clips on Thursday nights, when it premieres comedies including "Amazing World of Gumball," "Clarence," "Adventure Time" and "Regular Show." The fan clips will run as bumpers throughout the 6-8 p.m. Eastern block, starting next Thursday.
The app is part of Cartoon's efforts to reach younger demos, around a new campaign with the tagline "Are you CN what we're sayin'?" Said Ouweleen: "We're trying to find different expressions for the network." The CN Sayin' app, to be refreshed weekly, will let users record their own versions of songs from the shows and even have a virtual dialogue with characters.
In another digital initiative aimed at pulling in kid viewers, the cabler later this year plans to launch Cartoon Network Anything, a "micronetwork" comprising 15-second videos, interactive content like surveys and quizzes.
The network developed the user interface and concept for CN Sayin' in house, and worked with Atlanta-based company Toolbox No. 9 on the back-end development.
Cartoon launched the free CN Sayin' app Friday in Apple's iTunes App Store. If it gains traction, it expects to roll out a version of the app for Android devices as well, said Susan Shipsky, VP of on-air and print production.
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