Technology

FX's 'Sons of Anarchy' Guns E-Commerce Motor

Show's season five apps let viewers shop while they watch 9/10/2012 05:41:38 PM Eastern

FX Networks' relaunched second-screen apps for Sons of
Anarchy
's fifth season put a bourgeois glitter on the show's story arc
about a criminal motorcycle club.

With the free apps, which FX is promoting for the fifth season
premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 11, SOA fans can sync with the show in real
time or use the season four Blu-ray Disc-and, perhaps just as critical for FX,
shop for hundreds of items related to the show.

"We are excited to offer SOA fans a place where they can not only engage
further with the show but also find the merchandise they want in an interactive
and entertaining environment," said Eric Schrier, head of series
development for FX and executive VP of FX Productions.

The SOA app, available for Apple iOS or Android devices, has been
downloaded more than 425,000 times since its release. It was developed for FX
and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment by Burbank, Calif.-based Magic
Ruby, the former MediaEcho division of Technicolor that officially spun out as
an independent company in July.

The Magic Ruby development team created the previous version of the app for
Season 4 and the Blu-ray release of Season 3. According to FX and Magic Ruby,
the app tripled sales of Sons of Anarchy merchandise and related products
within its first month of release.

The most popular items purchased through the app have been the SAMCRO hoodie
(which stands for Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original) for
$49.95, along with the Lois Hill saddle ring ($188) worn by Gemma (played by
Katey Sagal); and the Original KD's 2120 sunglasses ($10) worn by Jax (Charlie
Hunnam).

Other show-related merchandise on offer includes a fleece highway jacket
($269.99), a leather women's jacket ($399.95), a 2013 wall calendar ($13.99),
table lamp ($64.95), T-shirts ($26.95) -- and an infant bodysuit ($21.95).

The app's e-commerce order processing is handled by San Francisco-based
Delivery Agent. CEO Mike Fitzsimmons said that mobile apps are becoming a
larger piece of TV-related shopping, on track to represent more than 20% of the
company's revenue for 2012.

The new Sons of Anarchy apps feature "Perspective," a
360-degree view of the SOA clubhouse that lets users navigate using a device's
gyroscope or swipe mode. Another feature is a "social heat map" that
monitors, compiles and displays show-related viewer tweets on the second screen
in real time, and lets users search full episodes to find which scenes
generated peak Twitter activity.

FX will add new content to the apps as the season progresses, including access
to alternate scenes, along with character bios, trivia, production stills and
storyboards.

"This app gives [Sons of Anarchy fans] everything they've been
asking for: amazing high-def graphics, new Season 5 content, features from
previous seasons and access to all our cool SOA merch," show creator Kurt
Sutter said in a statement.

Sutter added: "And it's free, bitches."

The Sons of Anarchy app is available for download at Apple's
iTunes Store
and the Google
Play store for Android devices.

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