Second screen technology refers to a second screen in the form of a tablet or smartphone, but other devices such as gaming consoles, have a second screen capability, as well. When you’re trying to wrangle the family around the TV to have family night, a second screen might cause cursing at the networks for giving the kids an excuse to tweet on their smartphones the entire time.
Up to 85 percent of television watchers have a smartphone, laptop or other device to multitask while watching, according to The Guardian.com. Of these, about 52 percent are actually researching content related to what’s on the television.
Here is how second screens are impacting the television industry.
Second Screen Implementation
The experience usually comes in the form of a mobile app or a companion website. The actual implementation, and success of said implementation depends on how well the network understands its viewers, and how much effort they want to put into a value-added service for them.
Live sports get one of the most noticeable benefits from second screen apps, according to Engadget. Viewers can view statistics, win-loss records, alternate camera angles, and other vital information during games. Sports channels are a major player behind subscribing to cable or satellite television, so some companies cater to sports lovers by making polished apps.
Second Screen on Xbox One
The Xbox One focuses heavily on providing an all-inclusive entertainment box to the living room. Social television and second screen features are a major part of Microsoft’s overall strategy. Snap Mode is the name of the feature that allows users to multitask on the Xbox One. Users can watch television while also browsing the Internet, interacting with social networking, or talking on Skype, according to Adweek.
The Problem with Second Screen Apps
Every content provider wants to put the viewer in a heavily branded environment. The theme, the advertising and other elements of the app are controlled by the show or the network. If viewers install an app for every show they watch, their smartphones are going to get weighed down immensely. Some consolidation needs to occur, but most content providers don’t want to give up control over targeted traffic.
Why Networks Use the Second Screen
Television networks have several reasons to push second screen apps and content. When viewers are so interested in a show they research information about the show while they’re watching, chances are good they are also likely to buy products relating to the show. Second screen applications are ways of engaging the viewers, encouraging social media, and giving television producers a new way to track viewer numbers.
The second screen app also allows the network to provide additional information on the show, such as the viewing schedule, information on the actors and the characters, and essential history for a long-running series. As more shows start having this type of information available through apps, the television experience will become more interactive.
Have you used a second screen while watching TV? Share your experience in the comments.
Photo by Flickr user Dan Taylor