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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