Disney Channel Offering More Interactivity With ‘Andi Mack’

You can find out a lot of about a young woman by reading their texts. Disney Channel has been putting texts from Andi Mack online as part of an effort to let fans interact more with the show through second screen elements.

As original episodes of Andi Mack resume on Jan. 15, Disney Channel is bringing back “Andi’s Mobile,” online second screen video that let fans know more about the show’s characters and stores by letting them “read” texts from the heroine’s phone.

Disney Channel will also be launching Andi Mack Live Play, a second-screen package of Andi Mack games, polls and trivia that will be released on the DisneyNow App and on Disney Channel.

Related: DisneyNOW Debuts as Unified TV Everywhere App

The episode airs at 8  p.m. ET and it will be followed by the Andi Mack Cast Party at 830 on Disney Channel. It will feature the results of polls and other elements from the apps. The shows will shown on DisneyNow in real time, so fans on both costs can participate in real time.

Disney Channel did live play with Descendants 2, and 6 million votes were cast.

Neither activity has a dedicated sponsor, but online and on the app, Andi Mack videos feature pre-roll ads. “We can do sponsorships, so we could have this experience be sponsored by somebody,” said Kimberly Hicks, VP, digital media, Disney Channels. “Every game has some sort of monetization but we can monetize specific experiences with a specific sponsorship."

But first, the goal is to increase engagement between the fans and the show.

"We're increasingly employing our app technology in creative ways to meet the expectations of our young viewers who enjoy participating in polls, stretching their knowledge with trivia and games, and reaching the next level of achievement all while simultaneously being entertained through their favorite stories and characters on TV,” says Hicks.

The text feature also shows up in the Games area of the Disney Now app.

“Working with [show creator] Terri Minsky, we were trying to think of some ways we could do a digital extension of that show and we really all wanted to get deeper into the story, things that we can’t do in a 30 minute episode,” Hicks said.

“My team came up with the idea of let’s tell a backstory, let’s tell  a little bit deeper story, through text messaging,” she said. 

In real life, kids find out a lot about their friends via texts, making this type of feature something what would be immersive for fans, while allowing the show’s producer to tell deeper stories and let the viewers know more about what the characters are thinking and how they’re reacting to things on the show.

In one episode, Andi spends time with a boy during Chinese New Year and it turns into a disaster. On the phone "it was her telling her friend how she felt about it and what the experience was like,” Hicks said.

The texts are written by a freelance team that work with Minsky and the writers. "She understands the voice very well and where the stories are going,” Hicks said.

The features should help keep fans involved.

“We do know the more they know, specifically with Andi Mack; they really want to know the story, they want to be part of that group of friends, and they want that more immersive experience,” Hicks said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.