Traditional TV has been struggling to stay relevant for the last 20 years dealing with an increasingly unengaged and distracted audience, a fracturing media model and new forms of completion for viewer’s attention. During the last 5 years there has been a proliferation of tablets and mobile devices, a rapid adoption of social networking tools, establishment of new advertising revenue models and applications and dramatic improvements to network bandwidth and speed. These innovations have merged to overcome the challenges that the traditional TV industry hadn’t been able to, helping TV overcome decades of decline and stagnation, producing a very unexpected second screen phenomenon where TV viewers are increasingly using their devices to surf and text about our favorite, consume new and innovative content and actively engage with contextual advertising. The result, increased viewership, ratings, advertising performance and viewer engagement creating a win, win win scenario for content providers, advertisers and viewers.
Phenomenon is a big word, with big meaning. It is used appropriately when discussing the second screen. Proof points include:
- 50 %- 75% of viewers with second screen devices use them while watching TV (depending on the demographic)
- Second screen viewers are 30% more engaged with video that viewers watching TV alone
- 28% of second screen users log into to social media sites
57% talk about what they are watching49% “like the shows they are watching
More specifically, the top 3 TV events of 2012 had significant social engagement
- 31 million tweets were sent during the Super Bowl
- 19 million tweets were sent during the Academy Awards
- 4 million tweets were sent during the Oscars
Overall, the trends are undeniable, viewers, content providers and advertisers are integrating their devices to create something larger that its component pieces.
The manner in which these integrations are manifesting themselves are as varied as they are interesting. Companies are monetizing the second screen by using it as an advertising platform and using it to boost viewership and ratings, examples include
- Cast tweet during episodes to engage with fans
- Running sweepstakes, games and trivia on the second screen during shows
- Steaming shows mobile devices and their apps
- Standalone apps outside of Facebook and Twiter (e.g. Zeebox)
Developers that created a myriad of applications to facilitate TV and second screen integration, including apps that:
- help you find new shows
- finding streaming content
- connect viewers in real time
- Turn devices into remote controls
- Display channel guides
- Monitor viewing habits and make programing recommendations
- Provide social media interfaces
- Deliver behind the scenes information about shows in real time
- Alternative camera angles
- Offer retail integration with advertising
As viewers increasingly move to watching shows on multiple screens, the advertising model is quickly migrating to the existing digital model where networks are paid on clicks (engagement) and not eyeballs (awareness). Not only is this more efficient for the advertiser, it’s more effective as well because viewers are more engaged in the content. The second screed also creates a fantastic opportunity for advertisers to interact with consumers in a very time sensitive, compelling and contextually relevant way. A great example of this is Oreo’s You Can Still Dunk in the Dark Twitter ad that they ran during the Super Bowl black out.
The second screen phenomenon was unexpected and has created a new culture that goes by many names (social TV, interactive TV, enhanced TV) but consistently witnesses couch potatoes using social networks to interact with each other as they watch their favorite shows. The result is that TV’s future is brighter than ever and is entering a new golden age that has been enabled by the very technologies and devices that many predicted would ruin it.