Second Screen Viewing: For the Uber Engaged

By Daniel Levy, SPI Intern
Taking second screen to a whole new level with four TVs.
The idea is simple, and you’ve probably already done it without realizing. A person is second screen viewing when they are consuming media on television while simultaneously engaging in related content from an additional device. Guilty? I most certainly am and know I’m not alone. According to Nielsen, 85 percent of smart devices (mobile and tablet) are used as second screens monthly and 40 percent daily. With over 220 million smart devices in the United States alone, the numbers are staggering.

An audience’s involvement in second screens revolves around two ideas. The first is information at your fingertips. In the age of smart devices, one of the largest drivers towards adoption is having endless information at your fingertips. Most everyone has had an argument, or witnessed an argument, get squashed by just “looking it up,” and the concept enables audiences to do the same while watching their favorite shows. Looking up actor names, plot lines, sequels, and schedules are the most popular second screen research uses, which is why it is important to have an updated, mobile-ready website for audiences to utilize.

The second idea is social media. Over half of second screen viewers log on to social media while consuming content, and the numbers are growing. More and more, audiences discover new programming on social media. Discovery’s “Sky Wire” (the live televised event of Nik Wallenda traversing the Grand Canyon via tight rope) is a perfect example of second screen viewing power. Only six million viewers tuned in for the preshow. Viewers started tweeting and the number of posts with Sky Wire-related tags soon jumped to over 40,000 tweets per minute. With the topic trending, viewership grew to an average of over 10 million viewers, and by the time he actually started walking, almost 13 million viewers tuned in. Social media is becoming the new lead-in and second screen viewing the reasoning behind it.

This phenomenon is chugging along at full speed with no end in sight, so it’s important to get on board. Having websites that are updated and mobile-ready is key, as well as actively updating your social media presence. Many actors and marketers live tweet during show broadcasts, and it is a great way to engage with viewers and start a conversation. Kerry Washington, from ABC’s “Scandal,” gets over 2,000 tweets per minute when she live tweets during broadcasts and the show’s social media numbers climb after every episode. Mobile apps designed for second screening viewing are another great option. GetGlue is an up-and-coming social media network specifically designed for television programming. GetGlue’s smart device app allows users to “check in” to shows they are watching, get information, and converse.
On board already? Tell us how!