Second-Screen Syncs Not THAT 'Enjoyable' For Viewers

Many people use smartphones and tablets while watching TV -- but only 13%of these second-screen users say content synced with TV makes the experience “much more enjoyable.”

While TV networks and programmers continue to stir up social media marketing connections, not all such efforts are working, according to a joint study by the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Association of Television Program Executives.

Where’s the disconnect?

First, one needs to look at specific demographics of syncers. Second, if viewers are not syncing to shows they are currently watching, what are they doing? Multitasking and mind-sharing data aren’t fully revealed here.

Activities that take viewer attention away from watching TV includes email, texting and phone conversations. There’s also such second-screen multitasking as searching for the identity of that special guest star on ABC’s “Scandal.”  Commercials, whether in real time or during fast-forwarding, are good breaks for these activities to occur.



Nielsen data shows that millions of people are reading and creating social media content about specific shows before and after they air.

Networks say this creates a big new marketing platform -- accountable “buzz.”  Twitter points to how well its Amplify program is doing for TV networks and marketers.

Sampling for syncing is just starting. A promising data point is that 42% of people who use a smartphone or tablet to access related TV show content have tried syncing the second-screen experience with live TV.

But there is also a shrug-of-shoulders aspect to the data. The majority of syncers, 67%, said the activity made TV viewing just “somewhat” better: it was nice to have, but not mandatory.

That suggests this question: How much do consumers pay for all this social media content? The answer may be that what goes in is what comes out.

5 comments about "Second-Screen Syncs Not THAT 'Enjoyable' For Viewers".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, January 13, 2014 at 4:41 p.m.

    Interesting and not the least bit surprising. I still don't see value added for the sync. And there's been two decades of effort trying to find some kind of value. Seriously - 2 decades. Worked with a company in the early 90's that was sync'ing with Wheel of Fortune and other game shows...and nobody really cared then. I didn't find it to be a technology problem (even though the tech was primitive). The problem was...why do I care? Thanks for the report, Wayne...

  2. Jim Monroe from Net2TV Corporation, January 13, 2014 at 5:21 p.m.

    Good TV is all about engaging stories. A viewer reaching for an iPhone during a show has lost interest in the show, so why would they choose an app synced to it? Recipes make sense, and maybe live sports, but that's about it.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, January 13, 2014 at 6:07 p.m.

    Echoing is what watching a program and having something on line in tangent seems like a waste of time. If someone wants to do something besides watching a program while it is on then it would seem redundant to sync.

  4. Craig Ullman from Networked Politics, January 13, 2014 at 7:42 p.m.

    I semi-disagree. It's true that the vast majority of synched content experiences are superfluous -- images and polling questions and some social functionality you don't need a sync app for. But if the content expanded on or took another angle on the video content -- if the additional material was creative and had a point of view -- then it can be a very compelling experience. But that takes actual effort on the content side, which providers are not always eager or capable of doing.

  5. Edmund Singleton from Winstion Communications, January 14, 2014 at 7:15 a.m.

    It seems that a lot of television shows are urging viewers to text while watching a show as a means of of testing viewership, must know that at the same time that those viewers cannot recall what most of what the show is about, its like texting and driving...

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