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Watching TV whilst browsing the internet has been around for as long as I have been using the internet.

It used to be because we needed something to do whilst waiting for slow dial-up connections to download content, but nowadays multi-tasking via a 'second screen' or 'dual screen' is part of our everyday routine.

We regularly find ourselves watching TV, browsing the internet, and updating social networks as the norm.

Neilsen found that 40% of smartphone owners in the UK use their phones at least once a day while watching TV and 41% of tablet owners do the same.

Over three quarters of people start watching TV shows after seeing positive tweets, and a recent study by Brandwatch found that viewers are on average 12x more likely to tweet about and 22x more likely to use a TV show’s official hashtag on broadcast day.

I even use Twitter as an alternative to checking the TV guide or catch up service to see what's on or how a storyline has ended in an episode I have missed and don't have time to catch up on.

So we've all been doing it for years, and...? It creates an opportunity for brands and advertisers.

On a very basic level, there are plenty of examples of TV broadcasters and advertisers really grasping the idea to maximise the buzz about their programmes. E4 saw one in four Made in Chelsea viewers tweeting during most episodes by displaying the official hashtag at the beginning of the programme, and Three's #danceponydance hashtag helping to achieve almost 14k tweets in 5 hours on the day of launch for their latest TV ad.

On a more complex level, technology integrations such as Zeebox create a platform to watch and tweet about TV shows and celebrities within one environment - showing where the 'buzz' is and influencing others to watch a programme.

But there's still plenty of room in getting it right.

2013 will be an exciting year for the adoption of the idea of second screens and how they they are changing our media consumption habits beyond recognition.

And if you're still not convinced, here is a great infographic to highlight the opportunity.

Second screen infographic

Rhian Harris (was Simms)

Published 20 March, 2013 by Rhian Harris (was Simms)

Rhian Simms is a Digital Marketing Consultant at Consult&C Digital and a contributor to Econsultancy. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

12 more posts from this author

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Kaveh Moravej

It almost seems like a double-edged sword to have this type of dual screen viewing. We already know from research that multi-tasking leads to diminished focus, so what does that really say about the content being produced if people are willing to spend time looking at another screen while the content is on. Good content should be able to hold its audience's total attention throughout.

The possibility that's concerning here is that content producers might intentionally put out more low quality content (trash TV?), where you wouldn't really miss much by switching your focus away to a second screen.

This would be fine to do during ads, but we have to keep in mind that people are also moving towards wanting on-demand content and watching programmes whenever it's convenient for them. We all like to talk about and discuss our favourite TV shows with friends and family, but not necessarily DURING a show. Content producers would be wise to keep that in mind, unless they want to blindly jump on the social bandwagon and encourage their viewers to distract themselves from what should be the key focus - watching and enjoying the show.

about 3 years ago

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Jenny Brown

So the evidence is clear, most people spend time watching TV and looking at their tablets or mobiles at the same time. But the challenge is how can marketers add interest and value so as not to interrupt and annoy people while doing this? Hopefully exciting developments will happen where people can interact more closely with television programmes and it becomes a seamless and enjoyable process.

about 3 years ago

Rhian Harris (was Simms)

Rhian Harris (was Simms), Digital Marketing Consultant at Consult & C Limited

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for the comment.

I absolutely agree with you. The fact that we already behave in this way reflects the fact that it feels like an organic mindset - even if we are prompted to use an official hashtag / app.

As soon as we start to feel as though brands are intruding or trying to manipulate that process against what feels natural is when users will reject it and do as they please.

Interesting times ahead in seeing how it all pans out!

Thanks
Rhian

about 3 years ago

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Richard

So, the evidence is clear: people who watch comedies and reality TV tend to use social media to reach out to others doing likewise. I doubt people watching programmes and films with plots that are relatively complex are doing the same. Could it be that dumbed down TV is leading the way?

about 3 years ago

Lee Cash

Lee Cash, Senior Business Development Manager at Qubit

I think you're absolutely right Richard.... The lighter the content, the more interactive the viewers will be (and susceptible to marketing).
So marketers probably need to be asking about the intellectual rating of the content before they consider how much investment to make in any marketing around TV content.

about 3 years ago

Rhian Harris (was Simms)

Rhian Harris (was Simms), Digital Marketing Consultant at Consult & C Limited

Hi Richard and Lee,

Good points, and it may be these 'lighter' programmes that can maximise the conversation but I think you'd be surprised.

This article demonstrates with Homeland and Panorama as examples. I personally have to really concentrate to keep up with the twists and turns of Homeland, and it seems most people are similar - generally tweeting at the beginning and end of episodes. Equally though, there are users tweeting throughout creating additional buzz:
http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/61871-stats-twitter-s-relationship-with-tv-revealed

So perhaps maybe not technically 'second screening' throughout films or more high-brow TV, a lot is still being said on social media before, after and during schedules, which to marketers is still of advertising value.

As I mentioned in the article too, I've actually been alerted to shows or films that are on because of Twitter (and it's not all trash TV - promise!).

Thanks
Rhian

about 3 years ago

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Lekan Adetifa, Head of paid search at WebDMUK LTD

Commercial breaks are diabolical! Too many ads! I put the TV on mute most times and do something else...like rifling through other channels and multi screening :)

about 3 years ago

John Kimbell

John Kimbell, Managing Partner at Navigate DigitalSmall Business

Without a doubt media stacking is something that marketers need to give consideration to.

I wrote a blog 2 years ago about it (http://www.the-navigator.com/social-media/media-stacking-starts-to-stack-up) and everything I wrote then, remains true now.

Media stacking requires through the line thinking and irrespective of what the programming is - people are increasingly using two screens. Yes, Twitter, Zeebox (and Facebook to an extent) are the primary social platforms that fuel dual screening, but don't underestimate how many times people will check the simple things like IMDb or their emails - whether that be in the middle of a heavy weight drama like Homeland, or something a little more mind numbing like X Factor.

about 3 years ago

Rhian Harris (was Simms)

Rhian Harris (was Simms), Digital Marketing Consultant at Consult & C Limited

Absolutely, John - those 'what's he been in?' are constant checks I personally make throughout a programme, as well as also engaging in conversation with friends re a show / storyline.

Great comment.

'Hi' BTW!

about 3 years ago

Susanna Hellden

Susanna Hellden, Research Support Officer at King's College London

I'm one of those ppl who don't have a TV, haven't had one for 7 years!!, but i watch streamlined news on my computer screen as if it was a tv though, ie when I eat dinner and also do my Twitter and what not.. time is limited and besides.... "tv", at least the way I use it, is the new radio, I don't have to see the faces of news reporters to hear what they are saying if you see what I mean.. thing is, and on that note; I also cook dinner and speak on the phone with family and friends, tidy the house and pay my bills online when the news is on because time is the one thing I don't have enough of :D

about 3 years ago

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