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How many is too many?

by Ruchi Shroff on Sep 13, 2012


Multitasking as well as
Multitasking as well as

Nearly half of all 16-24 year olds use messaging, email, Facebook or Twitter to discuss what they are viewing on TV, according to a new report from Deloitte. The rise of ‘second screening’ – the use of other screens, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets while watching TV – is a source of excitement and concern for many in the TV and technology industry, the report notes.

With all the visual stimulation around us, you would think that operators would be thinking about reducing their presence to just a few screens. But it seems that they don’t want to miss out on a growing trend.

Second screens have slowly become ubiquitous in our society in the form of tablets and smartphones. In fact multi-tasking can now be termed “multi-screening” with the number of devices people engage with at the same time.

Sports broadcasters, to stem the flight of the TV audience away from watching the main screen to the second screen, are offering alternative content to the main program. They present content related to the main program, such as unseen moments, alternative information, soundtrack, and characters.

Further, proposed new technology allows the viewer to see different camera angles while watching the game. TV2, Denmark’s largest commercial TV channel, synchronized its second screen service to live events of the Giro d’Italia 2012 bicycling.

And in the U.S., HDNet Fights utilizes a second screen service to synchronize to live MMA broadcasts, where viewers on smartphones and tablets can get stats, vote on fights and rounds, chat, win prizes, and see how fellow second screen users voted to win fights.

According to the survey report by Deloitte, majority of the 16-24 year olds use communication tools such as messaging, email, Facebook, or Twitter to discuss what they are watching on TV. The vast majority of over 55s (79%) never talk about what they’re watching on TV on the internet.

However, despite the abundance of apps that allow users to interact with the show directly, there is a “muted appetite” for interaction with TV programmes. Only one in 10 people browse the internet for information about the TV programme they are watching. Some viewers (40%) like being able to send their comments in to a live programme.

On the other hand, Deloitte reports that 68% would not want the websites for products, personalities or adverts that have just been shown on television, to automatically appear on their computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Paul Lee, director of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte, commented: “Second screening’s impact is far greater in driving conversations about a programme, as opposed to interaction with it.

Second screening may well end up with a similar status as eating in front of the TV: an everyday experience for some; absolutely unthinkable for others. One thing is certain: it is here for good.

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