When you crash onto the couch this evening it’s likely you’ll switch on the TV and reach for your tablet or smartphone (or both) at the same time. The single screen is no longer the norm, with Australians increasingly looking for engagement on multiple levels while watching TV – nowadays it’s all about cross screening.
As technology is developing, we’re seeing a change in the usage of tablets and smartphones among TV viewers, with richer content available through companion apps cementing cross screening behaviour and drawing audiences deeper into the TV experience.
Viewers become fans
We’re seeing a real shift in the way people watch and enjoy TV. Viewers are now becoming fans – especially around big sporting events and reality shows – where it’s all about getting closer to the action and accessing content. Consumers want to get inside their favourite shows, connect with the stars and provide access to exclusive content.
State of Origin has proven an excellent example of how TV can enrich the experience of viewers and also change the nature of consumer behaviour as the game takes place. Channel Nine’s Jump-in companion app provides a range of complementary content, including additional camera angles, live player stats and slo-mo replays. It’s all about immersing fans during the match and allowing them to get closer to the action, and providing great talking points post-game for fans to share. It’s the basis for the water-cooler conversation.
Jump-in received more than 132,000 visits to the State of Origin feature, demonstrating the huge appetite from second screen fans.
The success of events like Origin, The Voice and The Block Sky High highlight the expectations that Australians now have to be able to log on and get behind the scenes with extra content on their smartphone or tablet. Moving beyond traditional second screen apps from simple social integration and program guides to a truly immersive experience is a sign of things to come.
The brand opportunity
The range of content now available for TV fans – whether that’s key characters and events, voting options, competitions, catch-up TV or more tailored experiences based on the show – not only better engages audiences, but also provides a significant opportunity for brands.
Companion apps provide a great platform to connect with loyal, passionate and engaged TV fans to drive deeper relationships across not only TV, but also via smartphones and tablets. It’s the proposition of ‘TV and …’. Pushing a consistent brand or marketing message across these devices means that the creative can be adapted to work across a range of mediums, but centred around is the main screen holding the attention of viewers.
For major media companies and brands grappling with how to respond to the ‘second screen’ revolution, judging the kind of investment they should make in this space isn’t immediately easy. What is clear however is that while the channel through which people access content is important, it’s the content itself that will drive consumer take-up and speed up today’s TV revolution.
Bec Haagsma is director of convergence at Mi9.