If you’ve ever used a smartphone or tablet to search for something related to the television program you’re watching, you’ve been a part of the “second screen” movement: looking at a second screen while watching a first screen. While this may seem like the beginning of a serious addiction, using a second screen has become a common way of viewing and interacting with the media around you, a way for social media to interact directly with traditional media.
The notion is being embraced by television networks such as HBO, AMC and Bravo, among many others that are offered by providers such as DirectTV. Television networks see the second screen as a way to make viewing television better and more immersive for multitaskers, which encourages people to stay on networks longer and watch more regularly. Below are five examples of how the second screen is making the medium of television more interactive.
1.) ABC helped begin the mainstream second screen trend by releasing a “Grey’s Anatomy” Sync for iPad in 2011, which allowed viewers to interact with the show using social networks, according to Mashable. Other networks and programs have followed suit with their own sync apps, which often allow viewers to interact with each other, and the actors, as well as show producers and creators. Exclusive behind-the-scenes footage is also released on this new second screen display, allowing those using it to see and learn more about the shows than those who are watching in the traditional way.
1.) MTV’s Video Music Awards have included a specialized second screen experience since 2011, allowing viewers to go backstage and view different angles of the show as if they were in two places at once, and award shows such as the Oscars have included similar experiences. This, on top of social network immersion, makes viewing award shows more exciting and interesting, giving them insight into nominees and presenters.
3.) At the beginning of 2013, Bravo announced the launch of its first connected TV app, which allows viewers to vote in polls and play games related to Bravo shows, according to Next Web. Network apps such as these help serious viewers become more invested in the network and ancillary content. Bravo’s app is free to download on all types of tablets, and the network uses crowdsourced content to display during select programming.
4.) Some networks have even launched entire shows, turning living rooms into control rooms for the social TV experience. For example, “The Walking Dead” series on AMC, which has set ratings, has a 30-minute series called “The Talking Dead” that follows each episode and is a social TV experience that includes answers to viewer questions live on air. The “Talking Dead” show keeps viewers on the channel, talking about what they just saw, and drives media traffic to related accounts long after the regular program has ended.
5.) Like “The Talking Dead,” HBO has been savvy by having cast members from hit shows answer questions from fans on a second screen after shows, according to CNN. Similarly, Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” show is only a half-hour long, but after it ends, the live show continues online. Programming like this gives fans an incentive to hop on their second screens and continue to engage with each show — and receive additional-related marketing messages delivered by network ads.
How have you used a second screen while watching TV? Let us know in the comments.
Photo by Flickr user Bonnie Brown
[box title=”About the Author:” color=”#616161″] Patrick Bennett Patrick is a tech writer from Lincoln, Neb. He hates being called Pat.[/box]