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A second screen involves the use of a computing device (commonly a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet) to provide an enhanced viewing experience for content on another device, such as a television. In particular, the term commonly refers to the use of such devices to provide interactive features during a broadcast, such as a television program, especially social media posts on social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter. This type of technology is designed to keep the audience engaged in whatever they are involved in. The use of a second screen has been found to support social television and generate an online conversation around the specific content.
Several studies shows a clear tendency of the user to use a device while watching television. They also show a greater frequency of tablet and smartphone usage when watching television. Other studies distinguish a higher percentage of comments or posts on social networks about the content that is being watched (Nielsen ratings). Other studies show new user behaviors when consuming content via multiple devices. Hay-at & Samuel-Azran (2017) have demonstrated the interplay between using devices while watching television and online political discourse.
Besides the benefits of keeping the audience engaged in multiple ways (polling, chatting, background information about content and participants, etc.) and generating revenue via advertising, a second screen can be an effective metering solution to get information about the audience. Being more far-reaching and inexpensive, a second screen may replace people meters in the future.
One trend hampering the growth of second screens is that many shows are creating their own application for the second screen. It is impractical to expect users to download multiple applications and switch between them for each channel or show.
Conference and business meeting organizers are now incorporating second screens to deepen audience engagement. According to "2014 Trend Tracker", 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. 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 transforms the attendees' personal devices into an integral part of the event experience and turns conference attendees from passive listeners into active followers who 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. Second screening may also involve applications not formally connected to the primary entertainment. Some examples include:
- Transmission of the Master's Golf Tournament, application for the iPhone (rating information and publicity)
- TV programs broadcasting live tweets and comments
- Synchronization of audio-visual content via web advertising
- Applications that extend the content information
- Shows that add on their websites, content devoted exclusively to the second screen
- Applications that synchronize the content being viewed to the portable device
- Video game console playing with extra data, such as a map or strategy data, that synchronize with the content being viewed on the portable device
- Watching one Premier League game on live television and watching another game that has an impact on the first one, on your mobile device
- 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
- Political and social commentary, such as that by Donald Trump
- Voting functionality for audiences at home via the broadcaster app like the Rising Star show, powered by Screen technology
Sports broadcasters, to stem the flight of the TV the audience away from watching the main screen (the new name for the television) to the second screen, are offering alternative content to the main program. The idea is to present content related to the main program, like unseen moments, alternative information, soundtracks, and characters. Proposed new technologies allow the viewer to see different camera angles while watching the game.
TV2 (Denmark), Denmark's largest commercial TV channel, synchronized its Second Screen service to live events of the Giro d'Italia 2012 bicycling from May 5 to May 27, 2012, whereby viewers on all internet devices could get rider stats, biographies, news, stage reviews, city information, weather updates, etc. Viewers scanned a QR code on the TV broadcast to get connected or typed in a short URL.
In the US, HDNet Fights utilizes a second screen service to synchronize to live MMA broadcasts, where viewers on smartphones and tablets can get stats, vote on fights and rounds, chat, win prizes, and see how fellow second screen users voted to win fights.
|Primary Screen||Second Screen|
|Ares Interactive Media||iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux|
|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|
|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 Windows 10 PCs using an Xbox App|
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