Second Screen Industry Set to Explode
There’s a new way of watching TV and it’s not surprising that it involves using your smartphone or tablet in conjunction with your traditional television set. It’s called “second screen,” and it’s taking off as fast as the handheld industry itself.
This new technology allows your handheld device to work along with and enhance your traditional TV viewing. This makes for an increased measure of interactivity, using social networking and apps to make the television watching experience richer and more rewarding for viewers. You can even use your mobile device to send commands straight to your TV.
How it Works
Sometimes referred to as a “companion device,” this new technology allows for the synergy of additional electronic devices. What this means is that users can now watch one device, the TV, while at the same time interacting with that same content through either their smartphone or tablet.
Let’s say you’re talking to a friend on Facebook. He starts telling you about this great new reality show he’s been watching. Now, with second screen technology, checking out the show is as easy as clicking on that link your friend sent you and your TV channel changes automatically. Welcome to the new age of electronic interactivity.
But it doesn’t stop there. Let’s say you’re watching the History Channel, maybe a special about WWII. Now, while you’re watching the show, added information can pop up right there on your handheld device. The days of just sitting and watching TV are over. Now, you’re part of the entertainment process.
Industry Taking Off
Already 85 percent of smartphones users say they use second-screen technology at least once per month. Sixty percent say they use it on a weekly basis, with 39 percent doing it every day. Eighty percent of younger users from 18 to 24 years old (a key advertising demographic) say they use their smartphone while watching television at the same time. More than half of these users are in the $50,000 a year range, or higher.
The best part is that it takes only a small percentage of viewers right now to get the new industry off the ground. For the third quarter of 2011, television advertising spending was reported at $18.4 billion. That’s an annual rate of nearly $75 billion. Even a small piece of that pie will help this new industry take off.
While electronic interaction between handheld devices and TV might be relatively new, it’s really just a new means for an old way of interacting. Just like the office water cooler, this new technology brings people together and gets them talking about what they see on TV. Now, it’s just in real-time and integrated with the shows we are watching.
— By Tim Alan