The second screen is used for comms not content

By August 21, 2012TV

There is some interesting research out from Deloitte today on the how we use second screens when watching TV (thanks to Rob Andrews at Paidcontent for the pointer).

The headlines:

  • more and more people have a device on their lap when watching TV – 24% of the sample and 50% of 16-24 year olds
  • the biggest activity is communicating with others about what they are watching – using messaging, email, Facebook or Twitter
  • only 10% browse the internet for information about the programme they are watching

That makes sense to me. It seemed like half the London tech scene was on Twitter during the opening ceremony for the Olympics and it matches my behaviour when I watch football games.

The interesting question is what this research means for dedicated second screen apps – an area touted by some as hot for VC investment. The obvious conclusion is they should focus on encouraging communication about the TV programme rather than surfacing additional content, and work hard to find ways to add value so that people don’t default directly to their comms channel of choice. Helping viewers see what their friends are watching and enabling cross platform comms are two ways of adding value that spring to mind.

The other implication is that outside of quiz shows and reality shows programme makers should focus on the TV a most viewers don’t want content on their second screen (quiz and reality shows are different because viewers value the chance to participate directly by voting and playing along).