Adapting to a Hyper-Connected World

Erminia Fiorino
Monday, May 13, 2019 09:16

When is the last time you settled into your couch to watch your favorite show on television and didn’t pick up your phone, open your laptop, or turn on your tablet? Unless you’re included in the meager 12 percent of people who never use another device while watching TV, chances are it’s been awhile.

The advent of digital platforms—from smartphone apps to social media—has not just transformed the way we keep up with friends or interact with brands. It’s also changed the way we consume media.

TV is Now a Social Activity

Over the last few years, people have begun checking a digital device, otherwise known as a “second screen”, while watching TV (the primary screen). In fact, according to a recent report by Nielsen about media consumption habits of U.S. adults, 45 percent of people often or always use a second screen while watching TV.

To be specific, that same Nielsen study found that while watching TV:

  • 71 percent of people look up info related to the content
  • 41 percent of people email/text/message about the content
  • 35 percent of people look or shop for a product or service being advertised
  • 28 percent of people write or read posts about the content on social media

If these numbers show anything, it’s how hyper-connected our world is. To adapt, advertisers and broadcast networks have begun creating second screen apps—apps that provide supplemental information or ways to interact.

Take Nickelodeon and Major League Baseball, for example. They both created two very different second screen experiences for their viewers.

SCREENS UP by Nickelodeon

First introduced for use at Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Sports in 2018, SCREENS UP app offers “augmented experiences synced to Nickelodeon’s big TV moments,” AR stickers, and mini-games.

While the stickers and mini-games can be interacted with at all times, the network will let you know when you can use the augmented TV experiences by adding a prompt during a show or event. Once prompted, users must open and activate the camera icon in the app, then lift their “screen up” to the TV. From there, they can interact and play with moments synced to the TV.

MLB At Bat

MLB At Bat touts itself as the best app for live baseball. The app is free but offers a premium subscription level.

The free version includes great features like breaking news, player stats, key plays with Live Look-Ins and more. The premium upgrade includes multi-platform live audio access, condensed games, access to classic game video archives, and more.

These two examples are just a few ways the industry is looking to increase engagement and retain viewership in our hyper-connected world.

What are some ways you think the industry should adapt to second screen usage? Comment below!

If you find this interesting, you don’t want to miss out on a completely innovative project by experts at the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. They have created a companion screen architecture that has the ability to tune to specific TV channels and launch broadcast-related applications from a companion screen. Read all about it in the May Motion Imaging Journal by SMPTE!