Would you be able to survive a night with “The Walking Dead?” Do you think your favorite celebrity could? You can now find out, by hooking up to Story Sync, a second screen app that allows viewers to interact with the show on their tablet while watching it on TV. Story Sync also tells viewers which character they most resemble, and its “WatchWith” feature gives them the opportunity to share the experience with celebrity participants.
The world of second screen is here. In their bid for new and compelling ways to pull viewers and their wallets closer to the action, media outlets are now releasing their initial iterations of second screen interactive programming. Drawing on the sacred trilogy of television, internet, and mobile devices, second screen delivers interactive entertainment to tablets and phones, in sync with the show as it appears on the television screen, or as it plays on Blu-Ray. This delivers an extended experience along with unlimited opportunity to sell merchandise, memberships, and consumables.
Industry giants such as The Walt Disney Co. and Fox Broadcasting Co. are already well ahead in this field. The Walt Disney Co., which has almost a century of compelling, multi-channel leisure and entertainment experience under its belt, offers second-screen applications for a range of titles, including “Cinderella,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and “Tron.”
Fox Broadcasting offers Fox Now, a mobile app that gives viewers access to extended content and chat rooms. To avoid losing out on those viewers who choose not to download the app, it also leverages the APIs behind the WatchWith technology to syndicate the experience to third party sites like Shazam and ConnecTV.
Second screen has uses beyond television. Live event companies are developing and distributing apps to augment presentations and performances, including sharing slides and performer information in sync with the action that is taking place on the stage or at the podium.
This live connection completes the circuit between media outlet and consumer, creating a direct route to revenue generation through clickable ads and frictionless commerce. Viewers will not only be able to make purchases related to the show, or its sponsors, but their actions or non-actions deliver feedback that is both immediate and which also has enormous value when collected and analyzed. This data exists long after the show or event has concluded, and thus becomes raw material for future monetization opportunities.
Second screen also offers very fertile ground for social media gamification as well as direct spin-off commerce. As Tim Fernholz and Dylan Lathrop wrote in GOOD Magazine, “GetGlue has been working with content producers to help provide incentives for folks to check in and watch shows when they air, generally in the form of ‘stickers’–online badges that also are sent to users in real life.”
They add, “The ultimate goal of GetGlue and its competitors is to drive advertising to the second screen … if Pizza Hut is advertising during an episode of “Parks & Rec,” you might get a coupon for a P’Zone on your iPad if you check in. That’s a win-win for content producers and advertisers.”