For many the world over television viewing has evolved from a single, focused
activity into a part-time pastime which sees viewers watching TV shows with
one eye, while using their tablet computers with the other.
Last year Apple sold 15 million units of its iPad tablet and experts predict that
the number will grow to 125 million worldwide by 2015.
To accommodate the unstoppable invasion of “the second screen’, broadcasters,
production companies and mobile phone networks are designing content with
tablet applications (apps) to enhance the viewer experience.
“Multi-screen is all the rage. Eighty percent of Europe’s TV viewers are doing
something else on other devices while watching TV. In the US it’s 86% of
viewers,’ said Alan Lefkor of Motorola Mobility at the IBC2011 conference held in
“According to North American statistics, 27% of all households have a tablet and
80% have at least one smartphone. There are 40 start-up companies in Silicon
Valley all working on connected apps but content is critical. At Motorola people
talk about “premium content’. This could be a quiz, a contest, a poll or fantasy
“Tablets and smartphones allow you to engage with content interactively, which
can be done while watching the event on TV. I think broadcasters and content
producers should create loyalty programmes to reward viewers for watching
their programmes. It’s all about deeper engagement with the consumer and
encouraging self-expression,’ noted Lefkor.
The use of DNLA (Digital Living Network Alliance) wireless protocol allows for the
establishment of a meaningful connection between phone and TV.
“As TV becomes more interactive the tablet has turned into a remote control.
The tablet can also be used to channel surf while you watch a specific channel
on your TV in the lounge. We talk about the ecosystem of devices but it’s
important to understand how content fits in with the ecosystem,’ said Dan
Saunders, head of content services at Samsung Electronics, Europe and UK.
The Participation Media division of Fremantlemedia, UK, actively creates concepts
based on the second screen.
Peter Cassidy heads up the division, which has a small unit called Screen Pop.
“We’re doing a new type of show called Intuition in the Netherlands. It’s a
daytime two-screen show. This is a mass participation game and it’s all about
gut instinct. Basically it’s trivia for mass audiences but very accessible – you
merely type in answers to questions on an HTML site. It’s free to play and
people compete for pride only,’ explained Cassidy.
He noted that Fremantle’s The X Factor France had an entirely separate show
for iPhone and iPad apps. For the UK version of The X Factor, Screen Pop
developed a “social clapometer’ as an iPhone app.
As Saunders said, the tablet has become the logical bridge between the
smartphone and the TV.