The Connected TV Viewer close

Mark McDermott
Mark McDermott
In Online Innovation
2nd August 2012
The Connected TV Viewer

A recent study in the US found that 52% of American adults now watch television accompanied by their mobile phone. The so called 'Second Screen'.

A few key findings:

  • 38% of mobile owners used their phone to keep themselves occupied during commercials or breaks in something they were watching
  • 22% of mobile owners used their phone to check whether something they heard on television was true or not
  • 6% of mobile owners used their phone to vote for a reality show contestant
Of the 57% of mobile owners who download apps, use the internet, or use email on their phones:

  • 35% of mobile owners who use the internet, email or apps on their phone used their phone to visit a website that was mentioned on television
  • 20% of mobile owners who use the internet, email or apps on their phone used their phone to see what other people were saying online about a program they were watching
  • 19% of mobile owners who use the internet, email or apps on their phone used their phone to post their own comments online about a program they were watching

Looking at the 18-24 age demographic the number of those engaging with second screens jumps from 52% to 81% with 72% in the 25-34 bracket.

I think it would be fair to say the UK was on a par if not further ahead of the US with our mobile internet adoption rate.

What opportunities and threats does this pose to us as advertisers?

Well the obvious threat is that people are distracting themselves during advert breaks. With the addition of recorded TV allowing viewers to fast forward I think we are seeing a looming threat to the value of TV advertising.

However, in the halcyon days of TV ads we didn’t have our consumers hooked up with an internet enabled device ready to search and buy. Clearly if we can align TV content with a mobile opportunity for conversion then we can catch consumers when they are most engaged with our product or service.

This could be done by altering the messaging of an advert to acknowledge this new method of consumption and to try and engage the user there and then with a special offer or contextual challenge.

Very soon audio watermarking will become more commonplace which will make the act of triggering content on a second screen far easier. The issue now is that you need an app to be installed and open at the time the audio trigger is fired. Realistically consumers are not going to have every brands’ app on their phone open and ready for action. We will need to look to the producers of TV shows who will have accompanying apps and work alongside them to trigger our content.

Additionally I could see Amazon (for example) building watermarking into their ecommerce app so that advertisers could push to their product in a commercial. The user is far more likely to have that app already installed or at least feel open to installing it in advance of a promotion.

If you are either producing content for TV or advertising on that platform it is time to start thinking about how your audience will use the second screen to expand on and enrich their experience.