Does TV + Social Networking = Social TV?

A recent BBC post highlights some interesting new facts around second screen usage and discusses what some see as today’s second screen app.

First, some stats from marketing agency Digital Clarity:

  • 80% of under-25s used a second screen to communicate with friends while watching TV and
  • 72% used Twitter, Facebook or a mobile app to comment on shows

Clearly, viewers aren’t waiting for TV producers to engage them; they’re doing it themselves around their own social graphs and popular social networking apps (see: Twitter, Facebook).  While Twitter CEO Dick Costello recently proclaimed that the “second screen is Twitter,” it is only now because the alternatives are limited.

However, there’s a ripe opportunity here.  The BBC also referenced a Nielsen mobile study which showed over 85% of mobile and PC users accessing the web while watching TV, though just under a quarter were viewing content related to the TV show they were viewing.

How to leverage this opportunity?  More engaging sites and applications need to be created, so viewers can get a richer experience and be plugged in more with their friends.  Clearly, new platforms will enable watching TV to be more social, whether from TV producers or from advertisers looking to “join the conversation” as they like to say.  Who chooses to lead the way is still to be determined.

Welcome to Life on the Second Screen!

We invite you to join us with the new companion to ‘Must See TV’ – the second screen, be it with your smartphone, tablet or laptop.  Though we’re still in the early days of this new interactive environment, there are already a slew of apps and sites for TV viewers to engage more closely with favorite shows, friends aBones iPad Companion Appnd fellow visitors.

There are numerous ‘check-in’ apps like GetGlue and Philo, specialty apps around watercooler events like the Oscars and TV show companion apps from innovative producers like those from Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) and Bones (Fox).

We believe we’re still in the nascent stage of what we’ll have and be using shortly (sort of like those pre-cable TV days with only about 10 stations!).  Not too soon, it may even be strange to remember we just sat silently on the couch.

We’d love to hear from you on where you think the second screen’s going and how it’ll impact our behavior.  Have something to say?  We welcome posts from anyone who wants to participate in this conversation.  See you on the second screen!

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