Assorted Links and Thoughts on Second Screen

Most think of a second screen experience as one narrowly defined around viewing and engaging with content related to what is happening on a different (first) screen at the same time. Just see the first paragraph of the Wikipedia page for “second screen:”

Second screen, sometimes also referred to as “companion device” (or “companion apps” when referring to software applications), is a term that refers to an additional electronic device (e.g.tablet, smartphone) that allows a content consumer to interact with the content they are consuming, such as TV shows, movies, music, or video games. Extra data is displayed on a portable device synchronized with the content being viewed on television.

But second screening is often much richer than simply consuming and engaging with companion content on two different devices simultaneously. More frequently we are consuming content on a secondary screen that is separate from what is happening on the first screen. Perhaps we call this simultaneous media consumption – mixed second screening.  The idea of mixed second screening is consistent with recently released research commissioned by Microsoft.

As the release notes, the study found consumers typically follow four multi-screening pathways:

  • Content Grazing: This is the most common pathway 68 percent of consumers Content Grazing. This occurs when consumers use two or more screens simultaneously to access unrelated content; for example, watching a show on TV while at the same time checking email on your PC and texting a friend on your mobile phone.
  • Investigative Spider-Webbing: This is the second most common multi-screening pathway with 57 percent of consumers in this category. It’s a simultaneous path where consumers embark on a content driven investigation across devices at the same time, either to gather more information or for pure exploration. For example this could consist of watching a movie on the TV and looking up what other movies the actors have been in on a tablet or PC.
  • Quantum Journey: Forty-six percent of consumers land in the Quantum pathway. Here, productivity and efficiency are paramount as consumers are trying to accomplish a task.  Each screen separately and additively takes them closer to achieving their goal. For example, you snap a picture of a pair of shoes on your mobile that you see for sale while shopping, and then look up reviews about the shoes on your PC at home before purchasing.
  • Social Spider-Webbing: This is the least common multi-screening pathway with 39 percent of consumers engaging here. Consumers in this instance are extroverted and focused on sharing content and connecting with others across devices. For example, you beat your friend’s high score for a game on your Xbox, and then use Skype or other social channels to brag about your win to friends.

Last month, NPD published research suggesting individuals are heavy mixed second screen consumers and those who do engage in related second screen viewing don’t today rely heavily on the apps designed specifically for related or companion second screening, but rather rely on general Internet properties like IMDb..

Some of the big news out this week came from ABC who announced they would start streaming parts of their entire linear programming schedule in real-time to viewers in specific markets.