Why Developers Should Care About Second Screen Integration?
By Jonathan Lin, Director, Applications Strategy & Development, AT&T U-verse
There is no doubt that the mobile world has transformed the way we live and how we function on a daily basis. We can read articles within seconds of them being posted. We can buy things from merchants down the street or across the globe with just a few clicks. We can take pictures + post them to our social feeds for millions to see. We can manage our financial accounts without ever having to step into a bank and we can raise funds to finance our projects through crowd sourcing faster than it might take to grab lunch at the Madison Park Shake Shack in New York (worth the wait in case you were wondering). We can play HD multi-player games with people thousands of miles away, order food and have it delivered faster than it takes to wonder what ingredients we have in the pantry. We can ‘hail’ a cab without ever stepping foot into the street or raising your hand in the air for even a second, find a connection that blossoms into a life-romance with someone who has lived in the same neighborhood for the last few years, or attend an event virtually and it feels as though you’re actually there. And the list goes on.
The second screen, as it relates to television is a really exciting space, not just because it’s one of the areas I’m focused on, but because the TV viewing experience, coupled with the second screen, is changing the way we watch television and our overall content consumption behavior. When’s the last time you watched a game on TV without rooting for your team on Facebook or sending a message to your friends asking them if the ref on their screen is as blind as the ref on yours? If you’re like me, you’ve looked up an actor or actress’ creds on IMDB (Where have I seen this person before?) or took a look at Rotten Tomatoes before ordering a video on demand. (‘Seriously, the reviews are that bad? I’m going to watch it anyway!’) You’ve answered emails, checked the order status of a recent purchase, took a picture of what you just ate, or posted a click of your dog sleeping soundly in the corner of the room on the dog bed that cost more than your entire wardrobe. Realize it or not, our mobile devices and tablets have become part of our everyday television viewing experience.
According to an article by the WSJ, during the last Superbowl, ‘Sixty-five million people posted 265 million posts, comments and likes related to the game, the company (Facebook) said,.’ I’m going to garner an assumption that most of those posts and ‘Likes’ were probably from the New England fans during the last few minutes of the game, but that’s another discussion. 265M posts on Facebook in a span of a few hours! Similar results on Twitter generated over 28M tweets by halftime. Clearly, people have their mobile devices in their hands while they are consuming content if they aren’t actually consuming content with their connected devices.
Social media is an obvious and natural second screen behavior. But what if you could make relevant purchases in real time based on the shows or commercials you were watching? What if you could purchase the same outfit that your favorite actor or actress was wearing in the show that you are watching that very moment? What if you could get your hands on the recipe that was being demo’d on your favorite cooking show or even order it from a nearby restaurant without having to do any type of search? What if you could pre-purchase tickets to the most anticipated movie of the year right after you saw the trailer without ever having to wait on line at the theater or even fire up a browser to search? How cool would it be to come back from a run and check your heartbeat/ calories burned, map your trail, and compare the results of this run against the stats of all the runs you’ve had in the last few weeks? Just the tip of the proverbial iceberg…
Nielson had an article that stated users were consuming over 60 hours of content across all their devices. (Source: What’s Empowering the New Digital Consumer, February 10, 2014) They also stated that over two-thirds of people were using their mobile or tablet devices while watching TV. OTT applications like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu + connected devices like Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, smart TVs and others have become the main sources to our own personal content driven addictions allowing us to curb our appetites by unintentionally binging away our entire weekends. (And there’s nothing wrong with an occasional binge in my opinion). With the inherent growth of mobile and tablet usage while watching TV and the availability of TV Everywhere enabling the entire out of home viewing experience practically overnight, integrated second screens will become the next organic evolution for the TV viewing experience. What better way to leverage the biggest screen in our homes than to pair it with the one ones we already have in our hands.
As a product guy, this is the kind of stuff that excites me, the kind of use cases that gets me into the office early in the morning, keeps me white boarding into the wee hours of the night, and drives me to push out a few extra hours on weekends when my kid goes down for a mid-afternoon nap. As our worlds become more and more connected with the availability of faster networks and larger data packages, our near gluttonous appetites for access to more content continues to grow faster than my 14 month grows out of his only worn once clothes. The opportunity for us to develop compelling applications that drive second screen usage toward critical mass will be an extremely exciting path for many of us. With companies scrambling to embrace and develop IoT and WRTC strategies and programs, the bank of second screen opportunities are basically limitless.
As a developer, we all spend a lot of our time coming up with ideas that will hopefully change the world, drive serious adoption, or generate obscene amounts of revenue. The fight to own the 10ft TV experience is seriously heating up and I hope I get to see some of your ideas as part of that battle.