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Playing with the second screen

More and more often the audience watches television while viewing other screens: smartphones, tablets or notebooks

  • Key4Communications

The second screen is the term that refers to the fact that the TV audience can interact with the audiovisual content through mobile devices like laptops, phones and tablets, and through games and comments, among other activities.

This trend arises from the increasing use of these second screens by viewers who watch television while also answering emails or participating in social networks. According to a Nielsen research, more than 40% of tablet owners use these devices while watching TV at least once a day, a percentage similar to that of smartphone users.

Most of the time, people check emails, but they are increasingly discussing the contents themselves. According to a study by Deloitte, 24% of Internet users comment TV shows, either by email or by mobile phone, and 16% do so also through social networks.

So it is no wonder that many television channels and even advertisers are taking advantage of this growing interaction between senders and receivers of contents.

For example, many series and shows, especially in the US, use on-screen hashtags (the title of the series or the chapter, preceded by the # symbol) for Twitter users to chat and discuss contents. Obviously, these comments often arise spontaneously.

Another example: the Spanish TV channel Antena 3 has recently launched its own application for Iphone and Android that allows access to additional information related to the content. While viewing the program, the mobile or tablet shows "events" through which the viewer can receive this additional content as well as comment and participate.

This application also links to Facebook and Twitter, as GetGlue does, which is a kind of Foursquare, with check-ins and badges, but instead of on bars and stores, it works for TV shows: users say what they are watching and can thus access to different contents and discounts.

Advertisers are also taking advantage of this interaction. For example, Progressive Insurance ran a campaign with one of the most downloaded mobile apps, Shazam, which identifies songs by recording a snippet of music. When used to record the tune of this insurance company ad, the program led to a mobile website of the firm, with special offers and promotions.

In short, watching TV is becoming increasingly social and all this abundance of screens and devices, rather than isolate us, tends more and more to keep us constantly connected.

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