Commentary

When the First Screen Hands Off to the Second Screen

 You’re watching “NCIS” on CBS and on your tablet, you’re cruising through your Facebook page,when a the show stops for a break. An ad for Ford comes on your TV.

Wwith Flingo’s new Samba interactive software being popped into new Smart TVs and on OTT set-top boxes, even if you’re on Facebook, you can access that Ford ad, or ancillary Ford material. And for every other commercial on that episode of  “NCIS,” even if you’re watching it through your DVR. 

That’s the idea behind Samba, which will, in, its non-advertising applications also allow you to use your second screen to find out, if you watch “NCIS” and don’t know already, what Gibbs’ real first name is. (I know. I’m not telling.) Or get you bios of the other stars, plots from the past and on.

Samba doesn't have that NCIS deal at the moment. It's just an example. But, it could happen.

“There’s been a lot of talk lately, in last month particularly, about cross-platform media buying. It’s nice to be able to tie in traditional television with that cross platform concept,” says Ashwin Navin, co-founder and CEO of Flingo, who is referring to cross-platform talk that was rampant at upfront presentations.  “It’s the synchronization with the off-line content which is kind of the revolutionary thing here,” because Samba senses what’s on an equipped TV (even when showing a program you recorded) and brings that advertiser to the second screen. (You can shut Samba off, of course.)

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Potentially, he says advertisers can offer second screen user a promotional or a gift card or some other call to action and do that with a couple clicks.

“Where it get really interesting, on your second screen, whatever app you’re using, it could be ‘Angry Birds,’ it could be checking Yahoo Mail, the ads you see on the second screen are synchronized with the ads you see on the first screen and that’s where we basically transformed the second screen into the most viable direct response ad form there is,” Navin says. “Because any piece of inventory is up for grabs. Ads on Facebook will relate to the ads you see on TV and that kind of magical jump never existed before.”  

Flingo named Jackson Huynh its chief operating officer, making him responsible for further development of Samba. It’s for him to get the networks and producers to make the deals with the advertisers and traverse the complicated structure that, in just a part of a second, takes Advertiser A over to Device B and C and so on.  Hyunh most recently served as Global Head of Google’s AdMob Operations.

Navin says the data given viewers—the bios, the plot lines, etc—can be “very hit and miss” in other interactive applications, and that can be a killer “when you are trying to build a habit. When it doesn’t work most of the time it just defeats the education.” 

Weirdly, Flingo found that there are tons of metadata about virtually every TV show on the air now or the past. All Flingo had to do was find it so it can be displayed to users. Even if a program or network  doesn’t align itself with the  Samba service, data about those shows will be provided data to users. “You are never left with nothing,” he says.

You’ll be hearing about Samba. Navin says he expects it will be packed into set-top devices and Smart TVs to the tune of low seven-figures by the end of the year. And with the fall season coming, he hints, some networks will be using it, too.

pj@mediapost.com

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