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The Value of the Second Screen

September 11, 2011

These days it seems that everyone multi-tasks. We are overstimulated and easily bored. Though, that is absolutely an opportunity for brands and media, not a limit.

Traditional experiences are brought alive by the second screen.  This means, simply watching the Bachelor isn’t enough – you have to check Facebook and Twitter to see audience reactions to have the full effect.  For media and the like, this presents a chance for leveraging your existing audience to create more content, engagement and viewers.

At the recent MTV VMA’s, I knew within minutes that Beyonce was pregnant.  Did I watch the show?  No.  Do I care about Beyonce?  Only as much as the average twenty-something. But viewers of the show were able to create a conversation in a different arena, pulling in those who might not care about the show.

Conversly, it’s a missed opportunity when events/brands/media don’t take advantage of the second screen.  This past week was Fashion’s Night Out, the third-annual shopping bonanza organized to create hype around fashion and fashion week and to get consumers spending. It’s grown in popularity such that cell service was blocked.  That’s right, in my ‘hood (next to the high-end shopping) there wasn’t any cell service.

This means, friends couldn’t call/text each other to meet up (tragedy in and of itself), but it also meant that they couldn’t utilize the second screen in real time.  We couldn’t check in on foursquare, couldn’t share pictures on Instagram and couldn’t tweet about what we were seeing.

As we are multitaskers, the second the event was over, we stop caring.  And without the digital footprint, there’s no lasting memory (because we all know memories fade from the mind). And, really, fashion is mostly about voyeurism anyway, so if your friends can’t be jealous of ‘all the fun you had’ then what’s the point? JK.

For those of you still watching TV the traditional way, try logging into Twitter, using GetGlue or foursquare, or posting on Facebook.  See how that changes your experience and let me know what you think.

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