The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE||Content First) released the findings of the first part of a joint research study analyzing how and why consumers use Second Screen devices to engage with video content. The findings, presented during a panel at CES, revealed significant opportunities to improve synchronized program content offerings among the Second Screen viewing audience.
Of the Second Screen users surveyed, 79% access a second device while watching TV programming. Nearly all Second Screen viewers access asynchronous program content, either right before watching a show, right after watching, or between episodes/seasons, which offers a strong opportunity for program brands to increase loyalty and keep viewers engaged and watching even when shows are not on the air.
Only 42% of Second Screen users have tried synchronizing their content experience to live TV. According to the survey, synchronized content available for TV programs does not generate strong positive perceptions – only 13% of respondents said it makes their program viewing experience “much more enjoyable.” The majority of users said synchronized content makes their viewing experience “somewhat more enjoyable,” considering it less of a necessity than a “nice to have” for certain types of programs. More than half of those who access synchronous Second Screen content do so during commercials, so there is an opportunity to provide synchronized content that can be easily and quickly accessed during commercial air time.
For those consuming synchronized content, the most commonly used device is the smartphone, driven primarily by Millennials (ages 13 to 34). The device of choice varies by age group, with older consumers (age 55+) being more likely to use a tablet or laptop while viewing. Very few find navigating synchronized Second Screen content difficult, but those who do cite a number of technical barriers which keep the synchronized experience from being ideal. The most cited issues are related to connectivity, content that is not optimized for the smartphone, screen size and difficulty in locating content online.
More than 6 in 10 of those who access synchronized content agree it is fun to use, that it makes them feel more connected to the shows they are watching and offers valuable information while viewing. However, the majority feel it is only appropriate for certain kinds of shows. Currently, synchronized content is most often used for voting during reality shows, and participating in contests to win prizes.
Second Screen users who don’t access synchronized program content equally say they don’t engage either because they are not interested or don’t know which programs offer synchronized content. This presents an opportunity to increase awareness and reinforce the positive aspects of a synchronized Second Screen experience.
The study also found the key targets for Second Screen content are Millennials (age 13 to 34), as they are among the heaviest consumers of both synchronous and asynchronous program content. Female Millennials are particularly avid Second Screeners. Parents of children under 18 are also key potential consumers given their level of enjoyment of Second Screen content, and heavy device ownership and usage.
A few examples of ways to enhance synchronous content to boost viewer interaction with programs:
• Optimize social networking opportunities for Millennial viewers via contests and activities, and target older viewers by developing voting and contest-related activities for reality shows.
• Target parents with family content that allows simultaneous viewing interaction to help maintain and drive live viewing, and raise program ad revenue.
• Optimize content for the smartphone, making it easier to find/access synchronous content either through apps or on a program website. Content should be device-agnostic, given the proportion of Second Screen consumers viewing on a smartphone.