NATPE: Second-Screen is Here to Stay

The National Association of Television Program Executives and the Consumer Electronics Association presented the findings of the second part of their research study on second-screen usage among TV audiences at the NATPE market and conference, taking place this week in Miami, Fla.

The first part of the study, which was released earlier this month, focused on consumers and found that nearly all (91 percent) of second-screen viewers access asynchronous (not coordinated to a live show) program content, yet only 42 percent have tried synchronizing their content experience to live TV.

For a full report on the consumer side of the survey’s findings, click here.

The second part of the research was based on in-depth interviews with some of the industry’s top show runners about the future of second-screen and how it factors into the creative process.

Nearly all participants in the second part of the study view second-screen as an inevitable part of the future, and see tremendous potential in content designed for synchronous viewing (the simultaneous usage of both a primary screen and second device) as well as asynchronous viewing.

Findings show that while some believe there are strong opportunities for synchronous viewing going forward, producers are still searching for the best solutions to optimize technology to create a seamless experience for the viewer. 

Second-screen content designed for synchronous viewing does not currently have unanimous support among show runners beyond sports, reality shows and news. These findings align with those from part one of the study, which found that the majority (72 percent) of consumers who access synchronized second-screen content feel it is appropriate for only certain kinds of shows.

Most study participants said they are excited about the opportunities second-screen content will bring for creators, from building and sustaining a brand to providing a more meaningful connection between viewers and content.

They view second-screen largely as a tool to drive viewers back to first screen content, a view that also parallels the findings of part one of the study, which found that 63 percent of consumers accessing synchronized content on the second-screen say it makes them feel more connected to the shows they are watching.

Producers gave Twitter and IMDB high marks for being the most effective live, second-screen tools for all genres, allowing viewers to replicate the experience of watching a program with a large audience or even the show’s actors.

The producers and creators surveyed find that second-screen enhances the viewing experience in a number of ways: building social currency among viewers, making viewers feel special, bringing about a deeper experience with the primary content, creating a shared viewing experience and sense of community among fans and maintaining a show’s relevance by offering viewers a platform to continue to interact and talk about the program, even when it’s not on air.

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