Does Second Screen Control Social TV?

Not quite yet – but it’s certainly getting to a point where it will!

It’s a fact of life that screens control our lives – they have done for quite a while. But do you remember when that meant looking at one screen at a time?

I honestly can’t anymore.

Second Screen

Second Screen, Second Coming

The idea of second screening is nothing new; it’s been around for a while.

However it’s only in the last few years that second (even third and fourth) screens have really started to dominate our lives – especially in determining our media consumption habits.

Android, Kindle, iPhone, iPad, PS Vita, Wii U, Smart Glass.

Screens are everywhere. And their numbers are increasing:

54% of people planned to buy a Smartphone within the next 12 months. Accenture, 2015

And as for tablet ownership, the UK is at the tip of the spearhead:

The UK is the No 1 in the rankings for tablet penetration among Internet users with 62.8% owning a tablet. eMarketer, 2015

At some point you to have to stop seeing them as separate screens, and accept them as one giant media platform.

Expanded Entertainment

So why do we do it? Why do we keep buying more and more screens?

Because they all come with the promise of making information more “convenient” or “accessible” and “enhances” or “expands” our overall viewing experience.

This is especially evident in Social TV a new (primarily audience controlled) interactive platform for storytellers and media producers.

Take this factical from this year’s Superbowl:

28.4 million tweets were sent over the course of 2015 Superbowl, up 14% from 24.9 million in 2014 and 24.1 million tweets in 2013. Twitter, 2015

It’s fascinating to track second screen in the evolution of Social TV.

As the digital tsunami known social media started picking up strength a few years ago, audience TV trends were also experiencing a state of great change.

It was clear that the two were on a collision course.

But it was only when devices became “Smart” (ie internet enabled) and social networks became mobile, that the door was kicked open. And nothing could stop that tsunami from hitting audiences right where they live… on their smartphones.

The ease and simplicity of Tweeting while watching TV wasn’t just a revolution – it was game changing.

Even the guys at MIT were sideswiped:

“We didn’t understand that social and broadcast media wouldn’t merge on TV screens; instead, people would watch television and update their impressions on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using their smartphones.” Jason Pontin, MIT, 2015

Mobile social media exploded with TV related polls, campaigns, live Q&A streams, selfies, competitions and general TV conversations.

Some TV producers got involved… most didn’t.

Those who did get involved had a crash course in just how uncontrollable an audience can be. They didn’t so much as leverage the activity, as hold on tight and try not to fall off.

Slip Into My Screen-Sync

Of course it would be heresy to say that Social TV is only specific to mobile devices. It transcends devices and slips in and out of the real and digital world at will.

But one thing that remains a constant is how much users love their mobile devices. Now you are able to watch your favorite shows while simultaneously getting content delivered directly into your hands; via a mobile screen-sync.

You can play games, answer quizzes, make predictions, and rate the episode in on your second screen.

You can compare results to thousands of other players and see who made similar choices to you.

Oh Sync-This!

It’s hard to say for sure whether second screening is solely responsible for getting Social TV to where it is today.

But it’s a safe bet that it will be responsible for where Social TV goes next.

And with increased focus on social media interactions and  TV metrics, I think it’s safe to assume that two-screen media isn’t going anywhere soon.

What Next?

Here at Bellyfeel we have spent the last 12 months analysing over 1,000 TV broadcasts and their surrounding social activity.

What we found is very useful and will be crucially relevant to you if Social TV is something you want to add into your media business. We will be publishing this information VERY SOON.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already then download this Social TV Primer Report – it’s only staying up for a few more days…


  1. Why Hashtags are SO Important
  2. 2 Great Ways to Engage your Social TV Audience
  3. Hashtag Mistakes (and how to avoid them)


Find out in this free Social TV Primer Report…Social TV Primer Report

Lee Robinson
About the author

23yr old film nerd, comic book and video game geek and all round Transmedia Fanatic…Oh, and I also have a 1st degree in Media, Writing and Production. More here...

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