Second Screens and the New Normal
Posted on January 2nd, 2013
The so-called second screen, the phone or tablet providing content that deepens and extends a TV or film experience, is changing the way media channels and marketers think. Integrated second screen marketing programs have real value, and the data is there to overwhelmingly demonstrate that this is the new normal. People tweet from the theater, blog during the debate, and shop during the show.
It’s hard to tell at times if this suggests a shrinking attention span, or a better capacity to multi-task, but either way it’s a new paradigm for how people view and engage with content. “Viewing” is no longer passive, it’s collaborative.
4 out of 5 smartphone users in America use their device while watching TV according to Nielsen. Forward thinking producers and marketers understand this already, and will increasingly program the second screen as a natural and synergistic extension of the big screen. And if they don’t, they run the risk of losing the attention of their audience even if the TV is tuned to their program.
Shazaam, the well know music identification app, is now fully baked into almost every TV channel in the US . Launch the app and hold up your phone so Shazaam can listen to what you are watching, and it will then provide a range of supplemental content and engagement opportunities based on the programming including cast lists, trivia, social sharing tools and merchandise. Additionally, TechCrunch recently reported that Twitter is reaching out to TV producers and showrunners to find out ways that it can further integrate with the TV experience.
For the longest time movie theaters told us to turn off our phones, but in the near future they will be pleading with us to keep them on. You’ll be pre-ordering director’s cut DVD’s and sharing deleted scenes on your Facebook wall before the credits role. They may employ Cinema Ninja’s to keep you from talking, but believe me, they won’t try and silence your thumbs. Want to see the future? Check out this cinema in Minnesota that has introduced “Tweet Seats.”
The second screen experience is also increasingly prevalent in terms of how people engage with the analog world. Customers check competing prices and reviews while shopping, leave reviews while the food is still warm and seek information, connection and entertainment with every brand experience. The short-lived days of a simple QR code driving back to a website or YouTube video are over. In short order, augmented-reality won’t feel so augmented.
Web 2.0 introduced the social layer, and now the era of Web 3.0 includes the second screen and means you are always-on, connected, location aware and expecting a highly tailored experience. You’ll watch the show, while tweeting with the actors and live-blogging your opinion, and then be offered discounts based on how influential you are on the products the show advertises when you walk in the door of Best Buy.
It won’t be long before a mobile-first mindset sets it, and we will all be thinking of our smartphone as the first screen. This will impact everything from web design to how shots are framed, and products are integrated.
This poses new challenges, expenses and opportunities for brands, media channels and marketers. The definition of “integrated” is expanding rapidly. Doing this well will be hard, no doubt about it. That said, there are a multitude of engagement layers that can both improve the experience of a customer or viewer, as well as provide real opportunities to bring them closer to making a transaction and building advocacy.
The lesson here is to assume social interaction and a demand for multi-platform engagement at every consumer touchpoint. It’s not about simply making room for this behavior. It’s about encouraging it and planning for it. How can you enrich the experience by adding a social, gaming or entertainment layer? What will your customer be doing while they are doing the other thing you want them to be doing?
Sort of makes your static banner ads look a little silly doesn’t it?