26 Sep 2012

What is second screen viewing and what are the marketing opportunities for it

I recently read a great article by Marketingmag on the 'Top 10 ways Marketers are using the second screen" and it was very pertinent to a project I am working at the moment. Essentially to transform our limited (in accessibility) online media player, to a multi-platform accessible player that adds real value to our customers. A very important product to have for an International Sports Broadcaster.

So it got me thinking...

Let's define 'second screen viewing'

Put simply in my mind, a second screen is a personal device such as a mobile, tablet or laptop that is connected to the internet, and can therefore be used to compliment a programme playing on screen one.

As smartphone and tablets get cheaper, internet broadband speeds quicker/cheaper, and general penetration of them both continues to grow to new markets and demographics, it's no wonder that the number of 'second screen' users is increasing.

All you need to do is look at your own habits, do you tend to browse your phone / tablet / laptop while watching TV? The answer for me is a definitive yes.


Here lies the opportunity for brands to embrace. Give TV viewers added value by having content accessible on their second screen that compliments the TV programme without interfering with their experience of the TV programme itself.

Examples of this could be:
- Actor profiles
- Clothing/brand references
- Interactive games / quiz
- Social Interaction tools with other viewers
- Real time stats (think sports)
- Ecommerce upsell
- Multi-game viewing
- Etc etc, the list is endless

Obviously some real consideration needs to go into what is on the second screen. It needs to add value to the first screen, not compete against it. I think some brands jumping on the band wagon may find they tread a fine line with this. Time will tell.

10 Ways Marketers are using the second screen

In summary form, here are 10 ways Marketers are using the second screen - All points below are taken from Top 10 ways Marketers are using the second screen by Marketingmag which is a very thought provoking read.
  1. Leverage the small screen during big live events
  2. Incentivising Ad engagement
  3. Gamifying TV Ads
  4. Bridging a campaign's TV and Digital elements
  5. Synching Ecommerce with TV content
  6. Sponsoring second screen extras
  7. Giving sports fans a game of their own
  8. Spurring social chatter with hashtags
  9. Enabling real-time interactivity
  10. Creating Transmedia opportunity

What do you think about second screen viewing? 

How can Marketers embrace it? What are the lookouts for brands to make sure that they get the right balance between customer experience and commercial opportunities ?


  1. I think like you say the main thing here is adding valuing on screen 2 while still allowing the person to consume the content you are giving them on screen 1. This means delivering the right content at the right time, for example don't ask someone to play a game during the main part of a drama series. But do ask someones opinion or to vote for something about a goal in a football game by offering them a replay on the second screen while still showing the live feed on the main screen.

    1. Definitely agree and you can bet your bottom dollar that many brands are going to try and push this to its limits to keep shareholders happy and maximise commercial profits. Hopefully this is counter productive though. Empower people with the tools to let their voice be heard in an organised community can hopefully mean power to the people and a flexible / pragmatic broadcaster! Exciting times.

  2. Very interesting, I agree that we'll be seeing much of of this in the future.

    Take Nintendo for example, they are betting big on the whole second screen approach (take a look at this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=08O0G9CjcI8)

    It looks like they'll be first to the market with this and if it pays off for them, I can see other developers following suite. Its only a matter of time before Apple release their TV set and then the gloves will really come off.

    1. Cheers for the comment mate, that's a great TVC from Nintendo. Simple, clear and makes me want one!! I have Apple TV which is great but still many limitations, your right though when the gloves come off with their Smart TV along with Google TV making its stance in the market, watching TV will be a completely different / better experience for it. Come along way from watching Flintstones as a kid on my mums black and white TV!

  3. Great post Si! It's a very relevant topic to bring up.
    I agree with Christopher's comment above too. The one word I think it boils down to is CONTEXT. Perhaps because the methods of using the available technology is still relatively new, marketers are either not aware of the possibilities, can't afford it, don't know how to do it, OR place it in the 'too hard' basket. The good news is that technology advancing as fast as it is, contextual marketing via multiple screens will become more of a reality - quicker and easier than ever before. Watch this space I reckon.


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