As of today, the eternally memorable ‘catchup.ninemsn.com.au’ now directs to Nine’s new catch-up TV service “Jump In” in a sign that Nine have finally gotten serious about providing a useful video catch-up service. And it’s about time.
There’s nothing new to see here, with Nine the sole holdout FTA broadcaster in offering a dedicated catch-up TV service. With ‘Jump In’, Nine enter a space already populated with services like ABC iView, SBS On Demand, tenplay, and Plus7.
At launch, Jump In offers 37 different TV shows, allowing people to catch up on the most recent episodes of series currently airing across Nine, Go, and Gem. Most shows offer the prior months worth of episodes to catch up on, but in a very positive move Nine have made available longer season/series runs of some shows. For example, The Block has 277 episodes available, Thunderbirds has 24 of the 32 episodes produced of that show (in the proper full-hour format), there’s 68 Sea Patrol’s, and 118 episodes of Mcleod’s Daughters. Users cannot change the resolution of the video stream, with it looking to be a similar resolution to the quality of video you find on sites like ABC iView. A half hour of TV equates to approx 184mb.
Pre-roll ads offer an element of interactivity, allowing users to either click the advertisement to visit the advertisers website of choice (a KFC commercial, for example, clicked through to their Facebook page while a Red Bull commercial took viewers through to a Red Bull promotional site). Some commercials have additional elements that can be clicked. For example, A Gillette ad allows viewers to click a link allowing them to watch a full-length YouTube ‘documentary’ about the kissability of the guys (or something…I’d stopped paying attention – I’m a Dollar Shave Club guy m’self), click through to their site, or click through to their Twitter &/or Facebook accounts.
The website design is large and bold looking. It’s handsome enough and meets current design expectations. It’s a far-sight better than the design of the catchup.ninemsn service. The clean, modern design of the site is highlighted when a user clicks the TV Guide link at the top of the page which takes users to the garish TV Fix TV guide site.
Nine have updated the Jump In app to match the new-found catch-up platform branding. The Jump In app interestingly leaves behind its check-in functionality, but does retain considerable interactivity for each program. The result is an app that serves as an interesting mid-point between a straight catch-up app like Plus7 and an information-centric TV engagement platform like Zeebox. Nine may have been last to get a dedicated catch-up app out there, but they have unveiled the best of the bunch – an app with functionality that offers considerable value to users.
While the home-page on the app looks exactly the same as most of the catch-up apps with a left to right scroll past highlighted shows on a grid of sorts, it’s when a person clicks into one of the shows that Jump In reveals its functionality. Instead of simply offering shows to start streaming, users are presented with polls, the official show Twitter hashtag, short video clips, tweets from the cast, cast bios, an episode guide, photo galleries, episodes to stream, and a guide on when to find episodes airing on the broadcast services. The only criticism with this is that the schedule guide and episodes to stream would be best served within the first two information columns, but otherwise it isn’t bad at all.
When Televised Revolution first reviewed the Jump In app back in July 2012, the TV guide stood out as the best aspect of the apps functionality. Thankfully Nine have retained the TV guide and its prior functionality. It continues to be a solid TV guide – clean, easy to use, and quick loading (at least on my iPad). As with the prior incarnation of the app, users can set reminders for their favourite shows.
It’s been a long-time coming, but Nine have finally launched a decent catch-up service that, along with its app, serves as one of the better services. The information streams provided via the app, as limited as they are, will be welcomed by many users and they make for a smart addition. It is disappointing that Nine haven’t integrated the Jump In TV guide available on the app into the Jump In website. Instead of maintaining brand/product consistency across platforms, users are forced to use the TV Fix (formerly YourTV) TV guide. Amusing, however, is that the Jump In app is not released for Android but does support Windows devices along with the expected iOS (no doubt as a result of former corporate ties). This will no doubt confuse the two Windows Phone users who were already set to get their rants on.