Tim Bichara

TV and the Arrival of the Second Screen

One of the big entertainment TV changes that we’ve seen slowly creep into homes in recent years is the smart TV. These Internet connected sets offer users the chance to connect to not only the net, but also a whole host of apps.  

Second Screen

From catch up apps, to video apps, to social media apps; it seems that the future of TV is connected. And it appears that this is a truth on more than one account. Last year Pew, the research company showed that around 52 per cent of those who own smart phones in the US incorporate the handheld device into TV watching.

From texting others who are watching the programme, to tweeting and commenting online about the programme in real time, it seems that the second screen is becoming increasingly important.

For those involved in marketing, this makes for quite exciting reading, particularaly for those involved in the area of social media.

Current Uses
We’re currently very used to seeing hashtags in the corners of our TV screens. This allows us to comment on Twitter about the program in real time and it seems that this trend is only the beginning of small screen connectivity.

TV production companies have already been toying with the idea of adding extras for those with smart phones. These could include previews available only on smart phones or TV adverts that offer social media users exclusive content rewards in exchange for their engagement.

Second Screens
Many people ignore adverts and focus on their second screen- often their phones, checking social media during adverts. If advertising companies can entice these viewers to engage with their content instead, it will create a reason for them to focus more on the adverts in from of them. This could lead to more and more apps being created for this purpose.

Million Pound Drop
One of the best examples of the use of the second screen was by UK TV show ‘Million Pound Drop’. Users here were pushed to engage with the show by answering the on-TV questions on a second screen. This saw a 20% uptake from the audience and resulted in 150,000 people playing online. This hook showcases the tip of the iceberg for the second screen.

Red Bull, a company who are always up for innovations showed the power of the second screen via an experiment with the app Shazam. The drinks manufacturer allowed users to watch a snowboarding event from a first person perspective via their phone, while the third person perspective was shown on TV.

A further integration comes from eBay. The online auction site allows synchronisation between TV content and the channel people are watching. Users enter their post code and while watching the TV, items that are for sale and related to in-screen content are shown on the app.

Of course, these are only three of innumerable ways that the second screen is being used in conjunction with the TV in the home space. As is clear from the variation of these examples it’s a very experimental medium currently. However, like all unexplored territory, it could herald amazing results with time.


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