Second screening, or using an additional screen (typically a smartphone or tablet) while watching TV, has become the norm. 79% of TV viewers use a companion device while they watch TV. Nearly two thirds of teenagers use a second screen while watching TV.
Although many second screeners are using their mobile devices for distraction and entertainment, 36% are actually looking for more information about the show they are watching. In response, content creators and broadcasters are launching content online to trigger further engagement with viewers.
Here’s the thing – the activity of searching for secondary content is at odds with the passive experience of watching TV. Once a channel is selected, we can lean back and let the brilliant or banal program wash over us. Couch surfers and stress heads alike have been doing it proudly for decades.
Some of us twitchy finger types, may want the hybrid experience, watching “the box” while Googling other information. Mobile devices can act like adult soothers. But for many, calling up secondary content wrecks the passive party. Smart content creators recognize this and are experimenting with ways to offer up content in a manner in keeping with the primary experience. One approach is using Automatic Content Recognition (ACR). Secondary content (links, pictures, text) pops up on a user’s device when it is relevant to what’s happening on the TV screen. The viewer can opt to look at the online content then or later.
ACR uses audio water marking or fingerprinting technologies to synchronize audio for second screen apps. Instead of asking viewers to visit a website, and hoping that they will remember the website address and actually type it in, marketers can use ACR second screen technology to automatically provide viewers with extras