If you spent most of this winter in front of the TV with your laptop, tablet or phone in hand you wouldn’t be alone. You’d be surprised at how big ‘Second Screen’ is these days. Hint: it’s massive.
Second Screen is one of the growing interests in the digital industry for good reason. It unites online and offline, mobile and non-mobile and can enhance entertainment on the bigger TV screen by providing extra information and content on a smaller screen in truly multi-tasking millennial behaviour. The 2013 human being is after all a highly evolved species when it comes to consuming as much digital content as possible these days.
So, what are the stats?
Well. More than two-thirds (that’s between 75% – 85% to be slightly more exact) of TV viewers say they use devices while watching TV. The now-common sight of your flatmate chatting on Skype while watching a nature documentary or your spouse researching your next holiday while Eastenders blinks on the screen means this isn’t news to most of us. Performing largely unrelated tasks in front of TV screen is fast-becoming the norm the country over (about apparently – the most common Second Screen multitasking activity we do according to Neilson’s April 2012 study). However when the content of both screens is linked somehow, now that is when Second Screen becomes really rather interesting to the digital world.
Picture the scene; shopping for ingredients to cook a recipe online whilst inspired by watching Nigella, or tweeting about competition favourites whilst watching X Factor. Even the once time worn ‘Question Time’ format has received a new lease of life via its ‘Twitter Panelist’ addition giving the nation a voice from their sofas.
When the use of two screens results in a transaction, of either a monetary or social kind, then the potential for Second Screen is quite inspiring to people like us. Although think about it; performing something via a Second Screen that is related to content on the 1st isn’t likely to take up the entire Second Screen experience because of the nature of online behaviour, with users often flitting from various tasks. For example while a fifth of us are chatting about the shows we’re watching on social media its unlikely we’re on social media for this sole purpose – (between 42% and 48% are using Social Media on S.Ss, for both related and unrelated use). Similarly interaction with polls and voting scored well with survey respondents.
Those performing tasks on their Second Screen that relate to the first screen (i.e. the TV) is said to be around the 40-50% mark while around 30-45% of us are engaging with adverts while looking at products on our Second Screen. In July 2012 an eDigital/IMRG survey of 2000 people in the UK showed that 80% of smartphone, 81% of tablet and 73% of laptop owners use their device in front of the TV, with an impressive segment of these admitting to use these devices to browse products they’ve seen in adverts or shows. In a similar survey by Red Bee Media and Decipher, also of 2000 Britons, showed that 86% of tablet and smartphone owners use their device while watching TV although, as reported in the Guardian, “although only one fifth have used a “synchronous companion app” (e.g. a Zeebox-style app) to do it.”
Google’s investigation into Second Screen is apparently ‘one of the most widely quoted studies into multi-screen habits’ stating that a healthy 77% of us now compliment TV watching with another screen. Although with the opportunities that Second Screen user behavior offers us Google offered a warning too, that ultimately it means a distribution of attention. We are no longer devoting all ourselves to watching shows. We are in a divided state of “simultaneous usage” or “connected viewing”:
So after assessing where second-screen behaviour is currently, what are our thoughts on how this can create exciting opportunities for the digital world to explore with clients.
- We believe that Second Screen could offer event-orientated apps (e.g. the much-lauded F1 app) an extra dimension where users unable to attend have access to live, socially integrated information and special features at home while watching the highlights on TV, giving them a richer experience via digital if they are unable to be there in person.
- Transactional/searching and booking apps could integrate more closely wit TV advertising campaigns in future, as a way of capitalising on the link between the two screens and behaviours.
We are speaking to a number of our clients about how understanding S.S could benefit their digital strategy, because we think there are a great deal more opportunities for S.S going forward, but these will do for now. We can’t, after all, give all our clever ideas away now can we?
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