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Friday, 11 October 2013

The second screen is winning

Traditionally, and till today, marketers consider TV as the most important medium in an advertising campaign. It reaches a huge proportion of households, it is an engaging audio visual medium, it allows segmentation to reach different demographics, and perhaps most importantly, we have a comfort with the measurement metrics that demonstrate its effectiveness. By measurement, I mean the link between viewership of ads and brand impact like recall, imagery and sales.

But increasingly, it is time to come out of the comfort zone, as the second screen (the term used to refer to laptops/ mobile devices) is beginning to assert a bigger and more influential role in people's lives. At the simplest level, people are surfing for related/ non-related content while sitting in front of the TV, and their attention is divided. But the newest trend is that the second screen is not just eating away TV viewing time. It is increasingly intertwined with TV, and even taking on the role that the TV performed earlier. Here are some recent trends:

1) Twitter becomes the TV's remote control

Twitter has recently partnered with US TV content publishers ComCast and NBC Universal to introduce a futuristic scenario where Tweets will have a 'See It' button that can change the channel on the TV, translating the influence of social media into direct action. This will be made possible through intelligent web-connected set top boxes. As if this were not enough, you can even change the channel, program the DVR for a recording or play an on-demand show.

We have known since some time that Twitter can impact a show's ratings, or influence people to tune in. Twitter has now literally hard-wired its influential role into action. 

2) Social media and the swing factor

If you have followed the Indian election analysts over the past 2 decades, you would be aware of the importance of the 'swing factor'. Just a small percentage of swing in votes can topple the ruling party. Earlier, TV reports played a huge role in influencing the swing. While TV channels cannot show partisan or biased content, coverage definitely influenced the mood and sentiment of the masses. For example, huge scandals preceding the election which received ample TV coverage impacted the swing factor. Now, with social media joining the party, it seems set to play a big role. IAMAI and IMRB-led research indicates that a huge 3-4% of vote swing will be influenced by social media. When you bear in mind that social media targets youth - a huge and often apathetic political segment, the implication of the second screen becomes even bigger. Arguably, it may even contribute positively to voter turn out. And it will play a big role in shaping the decision about which party to vote for. 

3) TVs get smarter and less TV like

Smart TVs are nothing new, but the next generation Smart TVs will do more than their predecessors. This is made possible by a combination of software/apps and innovative hardware like Google's Chromecast dongle and the new XBox.

Google India is in talks with DTH providers to provide a full screen YouTube experience to viewers. The abundance and popularity of online video content makes it inevitable that this content will find its way to our TV screens. Only internet connectivity is a barrier. And even this can be surmounted - think of an internet ready dongle connected to Satellite internet which plugs into your TV and allows high-speed streaming. 

TV has created certain viewer behaviour patterns like channel surfing, family viewing behaviour, behaviour during ad breaks etc. which we are familiar with. Smart TVs will create newer and more challenging behaviours which we have to come to terms with. Multiple windows open at the same time? Live tweeting which scrolls below the scene? 

4) Online premieres and releases

In star-struck India, it goes without saying that where stars go, fans will follow. Star's fan pages and Twitter accounts attract thousands of fans. When Hrithik Roshan opted for a digital premiere/ poster release of Krish 3 on Facebook, he made a shrewd decision in line with international trends. Big music stars like Jay Z and Bruno Mars are opting for Facebook release of their new music and music videos. Sure, they probably do it on TV too. But the sheer excitement, buzz and interactivity of social media beats TV hollow in its ability to create and sustain hype. 

These points are not intended  to undermine the importance of TV. Rather, we wish to suggest that it is time marketers take a closer look at the second screen and the power that it holds, and integrate it tightly into their strategy along with mass media.

Sources : MashableWATBlogThinkDigit