A Happy New Year for Second Screen?

27th November 2012


We’re looking forward to the C21 FutureMedia conference in London this week – featuring an agenda packed with everyone’s favourite topic du jour – the second screen.

Love it or hate it, right now you can’t ignore it. While we’re perhaps not yet seeing the hard ROI on the proposition, we are seeing a lot of tangible progress – ranging from the arrival of increasingly sophisticated second screen apps, to serious cash being dropped in multiple territories around platform tie-ups (ref Zeebox US/Aus, plus Viggle GetGlue acq).

So what’s next? How should we expect to see this space unfold over the next 12 months? That’s one of the questions we ponder on the C21 panel this week.

Here at Red Bee, we see a number of things coming downstream that will start to shape the second screen in 2013:

      While we’ve seen the arrival of B2C platforms (most notably Zeebox in the UK), we are yet to see the broadcasters get into the game with their own offerings. We expect that 2013 will be the turning point, with many leading broadcasters bringing their own second screen platform to market. Significantly, we don’t expect that these will be issued on an app by app basis, but more as a channel based or channel bouquet offering – giving access to all the individual programme apps available from that channel or content provider in one place.
      Many of the apps that we’ve seen arrive over the last 12 months have focussed on either gamification (such as Britains Go Talent and FXUK’s The Walking Dead), or social interaction around the content. With marked exceptions (kudos to Zeebox), not many of the apps available today feature heavyweight content discovery features. For 2013, we predict that discovery will be a major, if not leading component of second screen apps. The reasons for this are simple – firstly it’s about delivering a core app that drives recurring usage (say by being your portal for finding out what’s on TV or acting as a remote control) – above and beyond the game or social features for the individual show app. And secondly, it’s about better realising the engagement and monetisation features from the second screen – driving additional and related content choices via personalised recommendation.
    Last – but certainly not least – is the many faceted topic of automation. Specifically, next year we forecast a far higher degree of federation across user log-in. Second screen purports the ability to have everything you need for social and interactive TV in one portal. In reality, this requires log-in sharing across multiple different apps – social networking, catch-up and on-demand, payment management and so-on. For the experience to work, the user has to log-in once and the experience be joined up beneath this – allowing the viewer to interact, socialise and buy as they wish, without having to clumsily log in to separate screens, apps and portals.

So, is there a happy new year on the cards for the second screen? We think there are certainly reasons to be cheerful.

Kris Hardiman, Head of Product Management

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