Why the 'Second Screen' Industry Is Set to Explode

Watching television while also using a smartphone or tablet is one of the most popular leisure activities of the mobile era.

The mobile industry is working hard to create mobile apps and sites that relate to what's on TV, in order to capitalize on this behavior.

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This approach is often referred to as the "second screen," the idea being that the tablet or smartphone becomes a TV companion device, allowing for added levels of interactivity  -- whether on social networks or dedicated second screen apps and sites that complement on-air content.



In a new report from BI Intelligence, we examine how second screen apps, social networks, and mobile sites will ultimately succeed in drawing significant audiences, analyze how they will begin to see some advertising dollars, look at who second screen audiences are, explore the second screen opportunity from the broadcaster angle, and detail the opportunity represented by audience analytics and second screen commerce.

Here's why the second screen industry will ultimately succeed:

  • Usage is growing rapidly: 85 percent of smartphone users reported second screen-linked behavior at least once a month, more than 60 percent reported doing it on a weekly basis, and 39 percent did so daily. More than 80 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds told Pew they used their phone while watching TV, and 60 percent of Americans with annual incomes above $50,000 use their phones while watching TV.
  • And mass acceptance isn't even necessary: All that matters is that a significant minority of viewers develop this habit (especially if they are highly engaged viewers). In the U.S. alone, TV ad spending was $18.4 billion in the third quarter of last year, a $74 billion annual run rate. If mobile can carve out even a small share of that pile of dollars via second screen channels, it would boost the mobile industry tremendously.
  • Second screen isn't really a new activity: It's a natural update to the old ways of engaging with TV, like the old office water cooler conversations about last night's football game or popular TV drama. Moreover, second screen-type behaviors were already popular on desktops and laptops, before mobile came along and made it a lot easier to participate.
  • Second screen apps and sites are bridges: They bring together the powerful but increasingly fragmented world of television media, and the fast-growing but still undeveloped digital realm. For TV-centric advertisers and content producers, second screen provides a channel through which to test out digital strategies while still remaining tied to familiar territory.
This story originally appeared on Business Insider
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