Thursday, September 12, 2013

Second Screen Apps Not One Size Fits All

Speaking at the NextTV Summit, ABC's Digital EVP noted that second screen apps aren't effective for all kinds of TV viewing behavior.  "He acknowledged that second-screen apps can work for some kinds of content, including sports, news, reality programming and awards shows."  But according to Chang, they are less effective for the typical shows on television and notes that it is more distracting than complementary.  I also agree with that opinion, especially when being used simultaneously with the on-screen action.

Dramas, especially, that require high involvement viewing require constant attention to the screen.  And while commercials offer a downtime, TV executives prefer to think they are still watching the TV, not leaving the room.  Having another device open only lessens the feeling of being in the action.  Less so, perhaps with comedies, but still viewers want to listen and watch for the laughs.  It is certainly in the live events where anything can happen, sports and award shows for instance, where there is room to add a second screen during the show.    Twitter and Facebook have proven that.  Less though for most other network programming to monetize and more likely the live water cooler for snarky comments.

And so ABC will back off from the use of second screen apps tied to their shows.  According to Chang, there was not enough opportunity to grow revenue and efforts will now be placed on other opportunities.  I expect that other networks will agree with Chang's assessment.

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