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Second screen

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A second screen involves the use of a computing device to provide a different viewing experience for content on another device.

The term commonly refers to the use of such devices to provide interactive features, like posts on social media platforms that take input from the audience during a broadcast, such as a television program. This type of technology is designed to keep the audience engaged with whatever they are watching[1] and has been found to support social television and generate an online conversation around specific content.[2][3] It is a type of screen casting technology that allows a smartphone or tablet to display its contents on another screen. A second screen can also refer to having multiple monitors connected to a computer.


Several studies[4][5] show a tendency to use another device while watching television such as a tablet or smartphone. Other studies distinguish a higher percentage of comments or posts on social networks about the content that is being watched (Nielsen ratings).[6][7][8]

Besides keeping the audience engaged (via polling, chatting, providing additional information about content and participants, etc.) and generating revenue via advertising, a second screen can be used as a metering solution to get information about the audience. Being more far-reaching and inexpensive, a second screen may replace people meters in the future.[9]

One trend hampering the growth of second screens is that many shows are creating their own applications for them. It is considered impractical to expect users to download multiple applications and switch between them for each channel or show.[10]

Conference and business meeting organizers may also incorporate second screens to deepen audience engagement.[11] According to "2014 Trend Tracker",[12] the second screen phenomenon is a significant and growing trend. "Attendees are so glued to their devices, even while watching a live presentation (or at home, on television) that marketers are supplying them with a simultaneous engagement tool they can access on that device," says Robin Stanley, VP-design and creative at GES.[13] "Software tools allow conference session presenters to share slides and presentations in real-time, so attendees can follow on with their device in hand." Second screen technology at conferences can be an integral part of the event experience by allowing conference attendees to engage with the speaker and other participants.


Many applications designed for the second screen give another form of interactivity to the user and another way to sell advertising content.[14] Second screening may also involve applications not formally connected to the primary entertainment.[15] Some examples include:

  • TV programs broadcasting live tweets and comments.[16][17]
  • Synchronization of audio-visual content via web advertising.[18]
  • Applications that extend the content information.[19][20][clarification needed]
  • Shows that add content exclusively for the second screen to their websites.[21]
  • Applications that synchronize the content being viewed to the mobile device.[22]
  • Video game consoles playing with extra data, such as map or strategy data, that synchronize with the content being viewed on the portable device, such as the Wii U.[23][24][25][26][27] PlayStation also has a game accessibility feature called "Chat Transcription", which allows a user to read what others say and send text to speech messages through the PlayStation 4's Google Play App named "PlayStation Second Screen".[28]
  • TV discovery application with recommendations, electronic programming guides (live content), and personalization.
  • Applications that display polling results and audience-triggered animated emoticons (along with the sender's name and location) in real-time on the broadcast instead of the user's second screen.
  • Voting functionality for audiences at home via the broadcaster app.
  • Video games that use mobile phones for interaction – examples include Kahoot!, The Jackbox Party Pack series of games, and Everybody 1-2-Switch!.

Sports broadcasting[edit]

Sports broadcasters, to stem the flight of the audience away from watching the main screen (the television) to the second screen, are offering alternative content to the main program, such as unseen moments, alternative information, soundtracks, and characters. Proposed new technologies allow the viewer to see different camera angles while watching the game.[29][30]

TV2 (Denmark), Denmark's largest commercial TV channel, synchronized its Second Screen service with the live broadcast of the Giro d'Italia cycling race from May 5 to May 27, 2012. Viewers on all internet devices could get rider stats, biographies, news, stage reviews, city information, weather updates, and more. Viewers scanned a QR code on the TV broadcast to get connected or typed in a short URL.[31]

In the US, HDNet Fights utilizes a second screen service that synchronizes with live MMA broadcasts. Viewers on smartphones and tablets can get stats, vote on fights and rounds, chat, win prizes, and see how fellow second screen users voted on fight outcomes.[32]

Other television[edit]

Slate described popular procedural dramas like Suits as examples of "'second-screen content'—shows that don't require viewers to hit rewind if they idly drift off while scrolling their phones".[33] John Landgraf of FX Networks bragged that, by contrast, Shogun was "not a two-screen show".[34]


Primary Screen Second Screen
Ares Interactive Media iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux
Dreamcast VMU
Select Dish Network Receivers iOS and Android devices using Dish Anywhere Mobile App
Select Disney Blu-ray discs and DVDs iPad and devices running Adobe Flash using Disney Second Screen
GameCube Game Boy Advance using Nintendo GameCube – Game Boy Advance link cable
PlayStation 3 PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita using Remote Play
PlayStation 4 PlayStation Vita using Remote Play; iOS and Android devices using the PlayStation App[35]
Wii Nintendo DS
Wii U Wii U GamePad and Nintendo 3DS
Xbox 360 Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android devices using Xbox SmartGlass
Xbox One Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android devices using Xbox SmartGlass[36] Windows 10 PCs using an Xbox App[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Encourage Participation With Second Screen Technology". educationalmeasures.com. Archived from the original on 10 July 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  2. ^ Mukherjee, P., and Jansen, B. J. (2015) Correlation of Brand Mentions in Social Media and Web Searching Before and After Real-Life Events: Phase Analysis of Social Media and Search Data for Super Bowl 2015 Commercials. International Workshop on Event Analytics Using Social Media Data, IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM2015) Atlantic City, New Jersey. 14–17 Nov
  3. ^ "Tata Consultancy Services | Technology, Digital Solutions, Consulting". Archived from the original on 2015-09-07. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  4. ^ Mukherjee, P., Wong, J.S., and Jansen, B. J. (2014) Patterns of Social Media Conversations Using Second Screens. The Sixth ASE International Conference on Social Computing (SocialCom 2014). Stanford, CA. 27–31 May
  5. ^ Giglietto, F. and Selva, D. (2013) Second Screen and Participation: A Content Analysis of a Full Season Dataset of Tweets, Social Science Research Network, p. 1-24.
  6. ^ "Newswire – In the U.S., Tablets are TV Buddies while eReaders Make Great Bedfellows – Nielsen". nielsen.com. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  7. ^ "Living With Digital: Consumer Insights into Entertainment Consumption" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 25, 2011. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
  8. ^ "What Do TV-Social Media Multitaskers Talk About?". emarketer.com. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Nielsen Families Become 'Framilies,' Ratings Giant Begins Registering Mobile Devices in TV Households".
  10. ^ "5 Things Keeping Second Screen Apps from the Masses – Double Encore". 2013-04-16.
  11. ^ "White Papers". NiceMeeting. Archived from the original on 2017-12-13. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
  12. ^ http://www.ges.com/docs/default-source/default-document-library/ges-2014-trend-tracker.pdf [dead link]
  13. ^ "2014 Trend Tracker" (PDF). UFI.org. 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  14. ^ "Double The Glow: Will Second Screen Apps Change the Way We Watch TV?". GOOD Magazine. 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  15. ^ Yahr, Emily (2018-01-04). "Do you fall down a Wikipedia rabbit hole after each episode of 'The Crown'? You're not alone". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  16. ^ Ediciones El País (2011-03-13). "Twitterrevolución". EL PAÍS. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Tweeting for TV | Twitter Developers". Archived from the original on 2011-12-02. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  18. ^ "Maximizing TV Advertising ROI". secondscreen.com. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  19. ^ Umami for iPad – Your TV Companion. Vimeo. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  20. ^ Fremantlemedia Ltd (19 August 2011). "The X Factor UK". App Store. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  21. ^ "2011 MTV Video Music Awards – Highlights, Winners, Performers and Photos from the 2011 MTV VMAs". mtv.com. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  22. ^ "The Miso Sync Experiment" (PDF). Dropbox. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  23. ^ http://news.cnet.com/8301-33692_3-57446945-305/e3-2012-year-of-the-second-screen-with-xbox-smart-glass-and-wii-u/ E3 2012: Year of the second screen with Xbox Smart Glass and Wii U
  24. ^ https://techcrunch.com/2012/06/04/microsoft-introduces-second-screen-feature-xbox-smartglass/ Microsoft Introduces Second-Screen Feature, Xbox SmartGlass
  25. ^ Sean Buckley (21 February 2013). "Sony announces PlayStation app for iOS and Android, will expand games to the second screen". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  26. ^ "Sony Announces PlayStation 4, Second-Screen Experience PlayStation App for iOS". macrumors.com. 20 February 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  27. ^ "Xbox SmartGlass official as second-screen feature". SlashGear. 2012-06-04. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  28. ^ "Using Chat Transcription". Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  29. ^ "Alternative angles in Sports broadcast". Archived from the original on April 4, 2012.
  30. ^ "Second screen is future of interactive coverage". TVBEurope. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  31. ^ "Giro 2.0 – second screen experiences". eventbasedinnovation.org. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  32. ^ "Mobovivo Launches Social TV Platform to Utilize Second Screen". techvibes.com. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  33. ^ Adams, Sam (2024-01-30). "Why Suits Was the Most Streamed Show of 2023". Slate. Retrieved 2024-06-08.
  34. ^ Rich, Katie (2024-05-20). "'Shogun' Starts Some Drama". Los Angeles.
  35. ^ Buckley, Sean (21 February 2013). "Sony announces PlayStation app for iOS and Android, will expand games to the second screen". Engadet. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  36. ^ Lawler, Richard (21 May 2013). "Xbox One SmartGlass brings more control, content to companion devices". Engadet. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  37. ^ Orland, Kyle (January 21, 2015). "Windows 10 includes in-home game streaming from Xbox One". Ars Technica. Retrieved January 22, 2015.

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