Saturday, June 2, 2012

Second Screen? Second Sight!

For some time, television researchers have been evangelizing that having a mobile device available enhances rather than detracts from the TV viewer’s, experience and a recent Nielsen report, State of the Media: Advertising & Audiences, agrees. In fact, almost 50 percent of TV viewers are using tablets and smartphones as a “second screen” while watching their TVs. Wow! That’s a majority of us! What are viewers doing on their second devices? Well, many use this additional screen to check their email, refresh sports scores, or seek out more information on a show or a commercial. Highlights are:     
  • Men with tablets were more likely than women to look for information related to a TV program (39 percent vs. 34 percent)
  • Women were more likely than men to search for information related to a TV commercial (24 percent vs. 21 percent)
  • Teenagers were much more inclined to visit a social media site while watching TV than baby boomers and seniors (62 percent vs. 33 percent)
  • Adults age 25 to 54 seem to be very influenced by advertising; they are 23 percent more likely than the average US Internet user to follow a brand on social media and 29 percent more likely to purchase a product online that was featured on TV
And as a growing trend, it explains why we’re seeing the development of mobile device pure play second screen applications like Shazam, Miso, and Umami, which allow users to share entertainment content in some way.  With the functionality residing on the second screen, that screen can then:
  • Supplement the experience without cluttering the main screen
  • Facilitate reading details not suitable on the big screen
  • Enable text messaging and other types of sharing
  • Allow for personalized interfaces
This second screening is more than simply having another screen present while watching television. It opens up a new era of interaction what’s being called the rise of “Social TV.” This Internet-TV convergence now taking place has implications for a range of industries, from broadcasting to content delivery to advertising. American advertisers and consumers’ appetite for television is apparent, as TV holds the lion’s share of ad dollars and consumers’ media time. That second screen is gearing up to play a significant role in the convergence of a technology that started with three channels in black and white. I wonder what it will look like in two or three years. What do you think?

This behavior is what happens, as iMedia’s Dean Donaldson describes, “When you are sitting in front of high value entertainment and something piques your interest when presented imaginatively, the passion spills over into intrigue and sharing.” With a majority of TV viewers holding and using a second device like a smartphone or a tablet to check email or talk on Facebook, that second screen is becoming a habit. 

Also, if the communication between the devices is reciprocated, then the “big screen TV” can tell other devices what it’s currently playing and those devices can do useful things with that information. This could be as simple as enabling the user to say something about what they are watching using social media without having to look it up, or more complicated like automatically finding information about a specific program, or related programs.