How media companies are adapting to second screen growth

On November 14, 2013

325-music-player-with-screen-1013tm-icons-252It wasn’t so very long ago that media companies, content providers, and broadcasters (like satellite and cable companies) sent content to your television on strictly a one-way basis. That is, they scheduled programs purchased from the media companies to be shown at a certain time of day. The number of channels that could be delivered was determined by the delivery method and the amount of programming availability significantly increased with the introduction of digital broadcasting. More programming information, converted to digital signals, could be shown.

As compressing the program signals became more advanced on a technological basis, the equipment that could receive programs decreased in size as well. Thus began the dawn of the “second screen phenomenon”, as smaller devices, like laptops, tablets, and smart phones could incorporate the hardware needed to receive the program signals. Better digital compression enabled the bandwidth used by mobile phone companies to provide adequate quality and speed to deliver those programs. The second screen phenomenon – people can watch any program, on any device, anywhere – has created new challenges but also new opportunities for media companies and internet service providers.

Digital transmission has also enabled broadcasting to become a “two-way” media, whereby viewers can interact with programs, call up programs and movies on demand, and have commerce opportunities presented to them during or around the video transmissions. Here are some of the new or coming developments via the second screen phenomenon and digital broadcasting:

Leveraging big screen live events – Coca Cola and other large advertisers, during events like the Super Bowl or major awards shows, have enticed and captured second screen viewers with “added value” messages to their core commercials on television. For instance, they may have theme related games concurrent with broadcasts.

Incentivizing commercials – With the interactivity of the second screen, advertisers can offer specials or coupons that can be captured to use immediately at an advertiser’s location, or at a later date. Some food companies have added interactive recipe books to their commercials that can be downloaded to smart devices and used later.

Quick links to social media – Programs and advertisers alike, can provide “instant links” on smart second screens, directing viewers to Facebook or Pinterest pages or Twitter feeds, capturing larger audiences over many different platforms.

Syncing commerce with content – Some programs make significant revenue off their promotional product lines, like apparel, posters, and DVDs. “Buy now” buttons can appear on second screens and boost product sales instantly, instead of directing viewers to visit a website.

Sponsoring second screen broadcasts – Program producers are creating unique and proprietary content that runs only on second screens. This method can be used as a way of attracting new audiences to the big screen, or increasing the audience sheer numbers offered to advertisers. Secondary content like this can also be used for the current spate of ‘talent’ shows, offering viewers a change to vote in competitions.

Sports content enlarged – during regularly scheduled broadcast sporting events, second screens can be used to run trivia contests, or supply additional information about game action, players, league play, and more.

Finally, one of the most successful advertising methods has always been “word of mouth” and today’s method of doing that is interaction with one’s Facebook friends or Twitter feeds. Entertainment programs, sporting events, and even newscasts are making frequent use of topical “hashtags” (#) to get viewers “talking” about the programs, thereby creating additional buzz, and hopefully enlarged viewership.