The Arrival of the Second Screen
The smart TV has been easing its way into our homes in the last couple of years in the form of TV sets themselves or add-ons in set top boxes. As you probably know, these sets allow users the chance to connect with a number of apps, as well as the Internet.
To put it simply, the future of TV is connected and that’s true in more than in the obvious manner too. Pew Research has surveyed and shown that around 50% of us now use or are in proximity to a smart phone when watching the television. In essence, we have two screens in use.
The second screen is increasingly prominent and a lot of us use it without even being conscious of it. From posting Facebook statuses about programs, to reading tweets, texting friends and using search, the second screen is increasingly integrated. Of course, this also gives it plenty of potential in the world of marketing.
The most commonly utilised manner of integrating the second screen is the hashtag. Everything from vacuous reality TV to voyeur like documentaries on C4 incorporates the little symbol. It allows users to comment and follow comments in real time, but it’s only the beginning.
Like any new form of marketing, it can be hard to know what will work and what won’t. Gaining attention and engaging is the main focus and one way to do this is to offer smart phone users a little something extra. Ideas toyed with include, TV adverts that can be connected with via social media on the phone and that offer smart phone users something in exchange for liking. Previews of TV shows only available to smart phone users when watching the program i.e. during the credits are also increasingly common.
In a lot of ways, engaging people during adverts and rolling credits is a necessity. The smart phone has taken us a step beyond channel surfing during adverts. Nowadays people just pick up their phone and zone out during adverts, so encouraging their focus is a necessity. By incorporating a reason to focus on and engage in these less interesting parts of TV, you make the adverts more powerful.
It’s not just adverts that can use the smart phone and the second screen to engage and one of the best examples of great use of the second screen was UK TV show ‘Million Pound Drop’. The TV show could be played on a second screen and users could see how they did and were compared to the on-screen competitors. To add more of a buzz, those who did well had their names read out on screen. This hook saw 150,000 people play the game on a second screen for the duration of the show.
Another company who used the second screen to great effect is RedBull. The drinks company used the app Shazam to show a first person perspective of a snowboarding event on the second screen, while the third person view was available on TV.
These are just two examples of how the second screen is being incorporated into our TV time. It’s currently in experimental stage. However, bets are that it will be increasingly popular with time.
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