Social TV Week in Review: The Second Screen – Another Challenge or a New Opportunity?

It’s no secret how dependent we’ve become on our computers, phones and tablets. Therefore it should not surprise anyone that we bring these devices into the living room to play and work on while watching TV. This behavior will become more commonplace as devices continue to permeate our lives. Nielsen reports that in just the last year, “smartphone penetration has gone up 34 percent, tablet adoption is up 400 percent”.

The ‘second screen’ (a name bestowed upon any device once it occupies the same room as the TV), has captured the attention of networks and advertisers. According to Videonet, “ITV, the UK’s leading commercial broadcaster, is excited by the potential impact of second screen programme experiences”. Peter Scott of Turner Sports New Media claims, “Advertisers drive us to make a commitment to the second screen”.

So why the excitement? The second screen offers a powerful new medium for delivering content and engaging consumers. In theory, tracking people’s preferences through the Internet and the social graph is now possible on the second screen. This opens the door for greater personalization, or tailoring content to individual consumers. Second screen apps, can offer more targeted, less intrusive ads and even recommend content.

A new study from Thinkbox is one of many seeking to understand the consumer’s second screen behavior. Thinkbox found that additional screens in the living room keep viewers around during ad breaks, encourage more TV watching and do not affect ad recognition. Not all research has been as upbeat.

An NPD study revealed, “70 percent of survey respondents say they’ve watched TV on a device other than a TV”. Although some may use devices to enhance their TV viewing, others are using their devices to replace the first screen entirely. Ashley Swartz, principal of the New York-based consultancy Furious Minds, believes fragmentation across the second screen is a fundamental threat to content owners (See article below).

Tracking ROI from the second screen is another cause for concern. Tammy Franklin, SVP of affiliate sales and new media distribution at Scripps, believes that second screen TV apps today focus on discovery and engagement more so than on advertising revenue. At the 2nd Screen Summit in New York, John Douglas, of digital advertising delivery company DG, explained that second screen campaigns are difficult to compare against traditional ones.

The million-dollar question is, will the second screen provide additive value or will it become a distraction? The answer lies in how networks and advertisers are able to innovate and leverage the second screen.

As always, you can find more on all the Social TV News below (The top 100 advertisers increase spending in unmeasured media, Google lumbers into the TV market and more stories…) Read the rest of this entry »

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Social TV Week In Review: Fear and Fortuity in the New TV Landscape

Technology is radically changing consumer behavior and forcing the TV industry to adapt. Out of chaos comes opportunity.

Chaos: DVR and Cross Platform Fragmentation – Are Nielsen’s overnight ratings loosing relevance?

This week, USA Today illustrated how Nielsen’s time-shifted data, coming in weeklong delay, can rebrand networks as winners or losers. Furthermore, “Just 47% of viewing by young-adult DVR users was live, down from 61% four years earlier”. If these trends continue, the traditional overnight ratings will loose value as the currency of the TV economy.

Two separate analyses conducted by comScore and Arbitron and backed by the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, found multi-screen TV engagement is on the rise (see articles below). Jeff Siegel, SVP of Worldwide Advertising at Rovi, acknowledges, “Challenges exist for advertisers as they strive to measure effectiveness of campaigns on new platforms and across a fragmented viewership”. With cross platform and social media measurement in increasingly high demand, traditional overnight ratings will further decrease in value.

Opportunity: Big Data and Social TV

Its not all doom and gloom. Eric Savitz, writing for Forbes, claims OTT distribution may actually be strengthening viewer relationships with brands by creating more opportunities for interaction. Among the more exciting perks waiting online are enhanced CRM capabilities and, once the wrinkles are ironed out, the tremendous power of big data.

Start-ups, television manufacturers and cable operators are scrambling to market with second screen applications designed to bring wandering consumers back into the fold. Albert Cheng, executive VP of digital media and chief product officer at Disney-ABC Television Group, remains skeptical of Social TV, citing a relatively small audience and the cost of having writers create supplementary content. Still brands and networks from Viacom, Discovery Communications, the Food Network, USA, A&E, Coke and Pepsi are all wading into the Social TV waters (see related articles below) hoping to cash in.

For all this news and more (Twitter is launching brand pages surrounding hashtags!) keep reading the Social TV News. Read the rest of this entry »