No question second-screening offers networks and advertisers enormous potential. It’s pretty simple: get viewers intrigued enough with what’s on TV that they’ll interact with it simultaneously on another device.
Using an app, viewers could be interested in accessing additional program or advertising content. Or, the chance to tweet about a show/product and follow others’ takes in a central hub. Or, to participate in a poll that provides entry into a sweepstakes.
It’s all about building engagement.
Networks are touting their real-time synching opportunities – basically: point an iPad at the screen and voila – constantly now. But is the rush of publicity more of an inside-the-industry thing rather than a response to consumer hunger?
It is early in this emerging movement. But has a network released data on how many viewers are using a second-screen app to watch and interact at once? When data is promising, networks usually move quickly to release it. Perhaps NBC has auspicious numbers from its Olympics experience that will be released soon.
Second-screening can carry two definitions. One is wide: just surfing the Web on any device while watching TV, even if the surfing is unrelated. The other is the newer concept of using the synch apps for live, opt-in interaction.
Based on a Deloitte/GfK survey in the U.K., young people are talking about shows they're watching on second screens. About half of 16-to-24 year-olds use messaging, email, Facebook or Twitter to comment and exchange thoughts about what they’re viewing.
Other data from the online research may be far less encouraging for a network or advertiser. The survey found only 10% of all people surf the Web for information about a program being watched. (Of course, 10% of an audience for a show with 15 million viewers isn’t bad.)
Other discouraging news for networks building those fancy second-screen apps: The survey found 68% “would not want the Web sites for products, personalities or (ads) that have just been shown on television to automatically appear on their computer, tablet or smartphone.”
Of course, it is a survey. How many people generally answer: show me more ads and make me feel like you’re tracking my behavior?