If you own a tablet or smartphone, and you are watching television, chances are you vacillate between two screens. That has the TV industry pretty excited these days.
Before this was a buzz in the media, in February of 2010, The New York Times’ Brian Stelter asked, ”Remember when the Internet was supposed to kill off television?” and then went on to write this:
The Nielsen Company, which measures television viewership and Web traffic, noticed this month that one in seven people who were watching the Super Bowl and the Olympics opening ceremony were surfing the Web at the same time.
Last July, about a year and a half later, Rapid TV News reported on a white paper by British technology research company Mobile Interactive Group, which updated that number for the US and UK. It had “40% of mobile users saying that they are most likely to be multi-tasking using their phone while watching the TV.” (Some estimate that number nearly doubles when you look at the 18-24 demographic.)
The white paper summary states, “Mobile will become the main vehicle for interaction between viewer and broadcaster,” predicting that interactive events on Facebook alone could generate billions of dollars.
Whatever the reality of the revenue, make no mistake — the TV industry is on board from producers all the way to the cable and satellite industries.
“It’s not a matter of if anymore, it’s a matter of how quickly,” says Braxton Jarrett, CEO of Clearleap, which provides web-based content management systems cable and Internet Protocol Television providers.
Jarrett says he has watched the television industry change drastically over the past 10 years, but never so quickly as right now. Second screen is right in the middle of that change.
Stelter has a line in his story that almost sounds old-fashioned fewer than two years later.
If viewers cannot be in the same room, the next best thing is a chat room or something like it.
It’s not the “chat room” comment that I mean. It’s the “If viewers cannot be in the same room …” part. Because as I interviewed six of the sharpest tech minds thinking about second screen effect, I asked them all the same question: “Will the second screen and the first screen ever merge?”
No, says Alex Iskold, CEO of GetGlue, which had 1.7 million users “checking-in” to shows 13.5 million times in September. “If two people are in the room, you don’t want to cram all of that information onto one screen.”
So my wife and I may be watching TV together, but we’re really in two different worlds — transported away by my Droid phone and her iPad.
Second screen appears to be sticking around. I’ve written about how that has given television shows a new chance to measure audience engagement. But this phenomenon is so new that no one knows exactly how consumers will want to use it.