Wheels are already turning in respond to the latest trend brought on by social and mobile apps: the ’Second Screen‘. Also called co-viewing, layered content, back channel, and not limited to just two screens, this is something that evolved naturally as users saw the value of viewing television while using mobile devices.
It is becoming much more intentional as advertisers, software and manufacturers realize the risks to the status quo and opportunities social TV brings for investment. Money is already flowing to apps like Zeebox, which just struck a deal with Viacom last week but also has deals with NBC and HBO.
If this seems clunky or distracting, consider this Nielsen report that find that 86% of mobile users (and 92% of those 13-24 years old) use mobile devices simultaneously with TV. A full 25% say they’re using their mobile device in ways directly related to what they’re watching. The numbers are significant and point to a revolutionary change underway.
In the moment
Imagine the business model of advertising clothing worn during a sitcom, movie, reality show or soap opera, or offering a trip to an exotic location featured in a travel program…or any program, while it plays before viewers’ eyes. The possibilities for directly marketing to people while they’re in the moment of highest interest can’t be ignored.
But it isn’t just about advertising. There are companies like OnSports that saw this possibility before many others and developed a sports app that makes it effortless to follow personalized reports, stats and scores that can be shared socially. We showed in a recent Harvard Business Review article how this becomes a disintermediation of the commentary we love and hate and gives the freedom to create your own.
In a clever new model, OnSports is now, “The social sports book” offering online wagering for those who’d like to literally put skin in the game. Their description?
Challenge your friends to instant sports bets on your favorite teams and players, plus get live scores and sideline photos for every game you care about. Win big, medal up, be a baller, and gain global sports fame.
The fun of peer-to-peer wagering, without the bookie or Las Vegas has enormous appeal. Think about the fun of betting based on bragging rights, who’s ‘up’ or ‘down’ or as a way to see if you’d ever actually make money in the ‘real world’.
How do we know how well the second screen works? The networks are working to combat this by offering ‘side content’ twitter streams on-screen or simul-casted web content related to what’s being shown in their programs. But can they really compete on a one-way medium with the two-way conversations of the mobile device without the help of companies like Zeebox or launching their own similar services? I doubt it.
Maybe this will hasten the move away from broadcast and cable toward truly internet-based content. The flexibility is so much greater and the only real obstacle is the sheer number of people who still prefer getting their content the old way. Bandwidth will also need to get better if we’re going to be happy watching full-speed sports delivered through the web.
Either way, television as we know it is in trouble, not from the loss of viewers, but from the distraction away from the conversation and advertisement that keeps the lights on. Once your attention is divided or the best information is coming from social media, you can turn off the volume, and thus the ads.
It will be interesting to see who sees this coming and who ends up getting clobbered. Just ask print media and book stores how that felt.