Second-screen services are a bit like the online video business a few years ago. Second-screen is the new hot area that has a lot of promise, but getting started can be daunting. There’s a chicken-and-egg situation going on because the second-screen business hasn’t scaled yet when it comes to mobile content synced to TV shows, and standards don’t exist.
But this is an area that is poised to grow. A recent report from Business Insider Intelligence said that 85% of smartphone users engaged in “second screen-linked behavior” at least once a month, with more than 60% doing so on a weekly basis, and 39% engaging daily. Also, Pew has said that more than 80% of 18- to 24-year-olds used their phone while watching TV.
With this kind of consumer potential, more networks will jump on board soon, predicts Chris Johnston, vice president of digital media solutions at Brightcove. He’s a proponent of second-screen services -- and, while Brightcove has a vested interest in powering video on such services, still there’s compelling evidence pointing to the opportunities in this market.
Mobile devices are growing the TV viewing pie by adding “new minutes to video watching,” Johnston says. “People are spending more time on apps, so I’m no longer limited to a 24-hour day. Advertisers can reach them on the tablet at the same time they’re reaching them on TV, so they’re reaching them twice. So dual-screen is driving further tune-in, and it can increase total units of ad dollars,” he said.
But scaling is the challenge. “We need scale or it’s not worth it for an advertiser to spend time and money building something. Advertisers won’t go there until there is a big enough audience, and audiences won’t go until there is content.”
That’s why networks are likely to lead the way. As an example, Bravo recently struck a deal with Old Navy for a sync-to-TV experience that lets fans play along with Old Navy-sponsored live content during the show "It's a Brad Brad World.”
The best way for a network to start in second screen is with one property or brand, Johnston advises. Next, find a tech partner, then measure the results. Second-screen content can include polls and interactive quizzes during linear programming on the second screen, with live crowd-based results on the tablet, "Guess the ending" ads, or dual-screen implementation of formats such as VivaKi’s Ad Selector unit, where the selection happens on the tablet/device and the linear ad plays on the second screen, Johnston explains.