nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

Want scale? Time to look to the second screen.

Posted by Colin Dixon
Second screen apps were to the fore at TVXperience Experience World in New York on Tuesday. I moderated a supersession discussion between Jesse Redniss, SVP of Digital at NBCU and Daniel Danker, the new head of products at Shazam. What they both had to say shows just how far, and how fast, second screen TV apps are evolving.

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Jesse Redniss, NBCU

Jesse kicked off the discussion talking through some of the things he and his team have been doing at USA Network. This summer the number 1 cable channel will enhance all its primetime shows with second screen content. To explain why USA is so wholeheartedly embracing tablets, smartphones and PCs Jesse walked through the performance of the seriesPsych from last season.

Psych has been broadcasting with second screen content that is in sync with the show since March 27th of this year. This content is provided to viewers through the USA Sync app and other apps through a syndication partnership with the company Watchwith. This means viewers can see the content through apps like Shazam and Zeebox. Jesse said that, for the season, over 300,000 unique users participated in USA Sync and that 60% of users were coming from tablets and smartphones.

As well, he said that 64% of second screen sync viewers were watching the show delayed, through DVRs and on-demand. This was a big surprise on two fronts. I had thought that one of the key values of second screen content was to bring viewers back to live, so that they wouldn’t skip ads. As well, I thought a key value for viewers was the social interaction through twitter. For USA, a key goal is clearly engagement rather than the ads. For viewers, the second screen content created by the show production staff seems to provide enough value to warrant watching it.


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Daniel Danker, Shazam

Shazam is now providing second screen content, mostly focused on ads, for 180 TV channels in the U.S. Of course, the company is primarily providing music recognition services but increasingly the app is finding a home in front of the TV. According to Daniel, 85% of Shazam users have tagged content on a TV program (when someone uses the app to recognize something that is called a “tag”.)  As well, in what may be a perfect storm for the company, 10% of users tagged content during the American Music Awards.

The app is enjoying explosive growth. It took 10 years for the company to hit one billion tags but just 10 months to reach the second billion. Shazam just hit 9 billion tags growing 1 billion in just two months. Shazam has been downloaded 350M times worldwide and has 70M active users driving $300M per year in digital goods sales.

This explosive growth and reach has not escaped the notice of advertisers.  Jaguar launched a campaign with the platform that provided users with a 360° gyroscopic view of the new F-type. Redbull used Shazam to launch the award-winning Supernatural enhanced TV content. While watching snowboarders in competition the user could use the app to launch a video feed from the headcams of actual participants that was synchronized with the live TV action.

Why it matters
Second screen apps like Shazam and USA Sync can now provide tremendous reach and scale for advertisers and broadcasters.

Engagement in the content is key goal of second screen TV experiences. Major broadcasters and advertisers are recognizing this and adding the extra content to many of their shows and campaigns.

The second screen content has engagement value, for bother viewer and content provider, whether viewed live or on-demand.

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