Second Screening and Making TV Social

The world of entertainment has changed significantly over the last decade or so. If you’re on social media while watching your favourite programme, you’re not alone. You’ll also undoubtedly see a bunch of tweets and other posts – people expressing their opinions on shows as varied as the latest Strictly line up, Monday night crime drama or even the breaking news.

The idea of social TV and the concept of second screening have quickly become important parts of business marketing strategies. It’s allowed us to reach new markets and given us a whole set of tools which need to be understood and leveraged.

This change has certainly been driven by our access to the online world and has led to broadcasters and business finding exciting ways in which to engage potential customers.

What is Second Screening?

More and more of us will sit watching TV while also fiddling with a portable device such as a smartphone or tablet. If Ofcom research is to be believed, at least half of us are doing this during the evening.

  • You might have someone watching a football match while also engaging with an online app such as betting software.
  • Maybe you’re engaging with a bunch of friends by text or on social media when watching the same programme, for instance, the Eurovision contest.
  • Perhaps you’re watching prime time TV while playing a game like Candy Crush or you’re doing a some shopping while catching up with the latest episode of EastEnders.

Many production companies are, indeed, now creating apps that tie in with their programmes. Channel Fours Million Pound Drop allows you to play along with contestants while the X Factor app lets you vote on the acts you see live on TV.

The Role of Social Engagement

A big part of leveraging second screening opportunities has come about through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Individual programmes almost invariably have their own hashtag nowadays. If you also have an app, you can create a good deal of direct advertising revenue and get noticed more than through traditional means. When X Factor produced their app, the accompanying ads delivered a 43% level of engagement with a much improved click through rate.

On a less formal level, businesses that engage with hashtags can also jump onto the bandwagon and reach out to potential customers who may be interested in their product. There’s no doubt that most of the engagement and opportunity to reach customers nowadays happens online, either driven by companies or, in many more cases nowadays, by the consumers themselves. You only have to wonder how many people watched the big new iPhone reveal recently while also checking availability on the smart devices.

It may come as a surprise that more advertising revenue is currently spent on TV rather than online (£17 billion as opposed to £5 billion just a few years ago). This is, as you might naturally expect, is beginning to change and it’s doing so quickly.

Nowhere is this marketing change being seen more acutely than in the world of sport. Head into any home during the big match and the chances are you’ll find someone with a mobile in their hand. They’ll be passing comment on Twitter, looking up stats and vital information online or more often than not undertaking a little betting on the side.

Social media has got wise to this, as you might expect. Twitter recently entered into an arrangement with the NFLin the US, streaming live matches on their feed and bringing in $10 million in advertising revenue. Both YouTube and Facebook are now following this pattern in the effort to make the most of second screen revenue.

Companies like Paddy Power use events to post live comments and keep their betting products in front of potential customers. Football clubs are working at ways to use this kind of activity by providing exclusive content all aimed at getting fans to engage and buy their products online.

How to Make It Work for Your Business

The big question is how a everyday business uses the potential of second screening and social TV. It can be difficult for small outfits as there is already a lot of competition out there. The big companies take up a lot of the space for big events but that doesn’t mean smaller businesses can’t create an impact to reach out to potential customers.

Of course, a big part of the challenge is which programmes you latch onto and how you approach viewers and second screeners without bursting their bubble. That means paying special attention to your creative content, the context in which you are producing it and ensuring you’re providing something complementary that enhances their experience rather than detracting from it.

When you realise that almost 40% of posts on Twitterare TV related, you can immediately understand the impact that second screening is likely to have and why marketing companies are putting increasingly more effort into it. Expect this to continue for the foreseeable future and for companies to develop new and interesting ways to keep us using mobile devices while we sit down for the evening and watch the TV.