Why The 'Second Screen' Industry Is Now Ready For Prime-Time

These days, TV shows and ad campaigns are planned with a smartphone or tablet-toting TV viewer in mind. A wide majority of U.S. audiences now use a second screen while watching TV, and about half of them do so on a daily basis.
The second screen industry has grown up around this now-established consumer habit. Social media is a big part of it. Social media helps to determine whether a piece of TV content will go viral, or flop. TV and ad executives spend a lot of time getting their second screen and social TV strategies right.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we take stock of how far the second screen industry has come and explain why this new TV season will confirm its importance. We look at mobile-social behaviour and how it overlaps with the second screen trend, and reveal the data behind consumer shopping on mobile for products they see advertised on TV. Finally, we discuss winning second screen strategies like that of TV series “Duck Dynasty,” and explain why stand-alone second screen apps and show-focused apps probably won’t take off. This report is an update to our best-selling February 2013 report on the second screen.

Gain instant access to both reports by signing up for a free trial of BI Intelligence >

Here are some highlights from our new report on the second screen trend:

  • In the first quarter of 2013, 46% of U.S. smartphone owners and 40% of tablet owners said they used their devices while watching TV on a daily basis. Nine months earlier, only 39% of smartphone owners had reported doing so.
  • But are these mobile activities actually related to what’s on TV? Yes, many of them are. 50-three per cent of consumers with tablets or smartphones have engaged in mobile-based activity related to what they’re watching on TV, according to an early 2013 NPD survey.
  • Buying products being advertised has become a surprisingly popular activity. 20 per cent of second screen audiences on tablets and 13% of those on smartphones reported doing so, according to Nielsen.
  • Show-themed and second screen apps that ask audiences to open an app during shows and sync to TV in order to deliver content tie-ins will not be the big winners — they’re asking too much of audiences. Second screen will be about encouraging activity that’s more natural, like commenting about a show on social media.
  • The volume of TV-related social media comments in the U.S. surged 363% over the course of 2012.
  • Broadly speaking, dedicated second screen apps that have built platforms around second screen activity seem to be trying different models in order to see what sticks. Overall, they’ve seen decent growth in audience size, but not dramatic growth. And lately it has looked flat.
  • Twitter has an ambitious strategy for capitalising on second screen behaviour and tying it into the rest of its ad ecosystem, but it may be overstating tweets’ impact on TV ratings. More interesting are Twitter’s findings that certain genres — reality TV in particular — are more susceptible to ratings effects from tweets.
  • A wave of consolidation will wash through the second screen ecosystem this year as big tech players wake up to its importance and its unique place bridging the digital-TV divide.

The full report provides in-depth analysis and detailed data on these trends, including a dozen charts with underlying data sets that subscribers can download and use in spreadsheet format.

For full access to this report along with dozens of in-depth mobile industry reports and a library of hundreds of downloadable charts and data, sign up for a two-week free trial of BI Intelligence.

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