Second Screen Innovations — Moving Beyond the Water Cooler

We couch potatoes might still be on the couch, but our hands are hardly idle. Today’s sofa surfers are adept at multitasking, and we’re not just jockeying for potato chips and the remote control. We’ve got smart tablets in our laps and mobile devices at our fingertips. The sofa has never been so crowded.

We watch the TV show, the debate, the movie or the game and then we talk about it. That much hasn’t changed. It’s just how and when we’re talking that’s new. Now instead of gathering around the water cooler hours later, we wait a matter of minutes, if not seconds. Then we “like” it. Or we don’t. We rate it, tweet it, Facebook it, blog about it, all on our second screens.

This steadily growing phenomenon is not lost on the innovators of the entertainment and media industries nor the members of the National Association of Broadcasters. These forward-thinking pioneers gathered in Las Vegas this week for NAB Show 2013. I imagine these guys were among the first to abandon the water cooler.

Every Second Counts

The time it takes people to experience a television event, contemplate it, and report back to their digital community is dwindling fast. According to an online survey by Accenture Digital Services, using a tablet while watching TV has increased from 11 percent a year ago to 44 percent today. Tata Consultancy Services reports that 80 percent of people who own smart devices use them while they’re watching TV.

Second screens, couch commerce and the importance of workflow efficiency were among the hot topics at this year’s NAB Show. Kaazing demonstrated new technology, powered by the Dell Create Workflow solution, that allows us to watch sporting events on TV and place bets or play trivia on our mobile devices simultaneously. Some conference participants saw an early prototype tool we can use to synchronize our smart devices with our television screens. All very cutting edge.

No Second Chances

Good broadcasters know that second screens can be as dangerous as they are powerful. They present an opportunity to engage the audience as well as to lose them. What’s more distracting than Facebook, besides maybe YouTube? Nothing screams distraction like dreaming dogs or dizzy cats.

The bottom line is this: A lost audience is lost revenue. And the key to effective second screen technology is allowing your audience to go to that second screen, so long as they don’t venture too far off.

Don’t Be Second Best

Successful broadcasters will empower their users to shout out, tweet, blog and play the social media game. They’ll push them to engage in social TV — then quickly redirect them back to the first screen before it’s too late and they go the way of the water cooler.

Learn more about NAB Show 2013.

Learn more about how Dell Create can help you seamlessly incorporate second screen technology into your workflow.

Nicole Smith

Nicole Smith

Managing Editor at Tech Page One
Nicole Smith is an alum of the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Gannett News Service and Austin-American Statesman newsrooms. She joined Dell in 2011 to help manage internal contributions to and develop editorial content strategy for digital marketing.
Nicole Smith
Tags: Gadgets & Devices,Tech Culture,Technology