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TV3 determined to own viewers on second screen

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Stephen Grant, Group Director of Online at TV3, the Irish commercial broadcaster, has made it clear that his company is determined to own the viewer on the second screen, harnessing the interest that is being created around its shows rather than leave other companies to pick up the second screen engagement. Key to this ambition is the broadcaster’s ShowPal app, launched in October and billed as the first second screen viewing companion app in Ireland.

ShowPal uses automatic content recognition to synchronize second screen content with what is happening on the main television and it will be used to enrich content and increase viewer engagement. It features games, social elements and interactive synchronized advertising, among other things. There are Twitter feeds related to shows, relevant article links and celebrity profiles. The app is available on iOS and will come to Android in the spring.

“The vast majority of online activity is going elsewhere,” Grant says, referring to third party apps and especially social media giants. He points to figures released by Twitter at the start of this year revealing that 40% of primetime Tweets are about TV.

“So television is generating a whole lot of activity and we want to create complementary second screen content so we can better control the online journey and give the viewer a better experience. We want to give ourselves the data rather than Twitter, and give us the potential to monetize that action on the second screen and in the online space. Broadcasters are driving lots of the activity and we want to capture that.”

Grant was speaking at a Breakfast Briefing hosted by Civolution during the Future TV Advertising Forum this month called ‘How to build powerful synchronized advertising campaigns’. He went on: “Twitter built an IPO [initial public offering of stock] on the basis of being the second screen whereas the people that are generating the engagement are the broadcasters on the first screen, so we should own this space more. Some of this is defensive. There is an opportunity around the viewer journey: how you give a more rounded and complementary experience to the viewer. It is better to watch shows with ShowPal than without.”

Grant argued that broadcasters are best positioned to create the synchronized second screen experience because they already know what is playing on the first screen and know in advance when you might want a ‘call to action’. Broadcasters can use the editorial team to deliver the call to action on the first screen. They also have the existing relationships with advertisers to turn the second screen into an interactive advertising opportunity.

Focusing on advertising, he suggests: “We can link to the brand when the consumer is at their most responsive, emotionally.” He gave the example of the movie The Hangover (a comedy caper based around a bachelor party/stag night in Las Vegas where the groom-to-be goes missing) and a point in the film where they are driving up to Caesars Palace hotel, noting that this is the point to show people an ad for the National Lottery.

TV3 is already proving the potential for synchronized second screen marketing in the ShowPal app. During The X Factor the app production team are generating editorial interest around the show sponsor, the online retailer Littlewoods. One example is commenting about the dress that judge Nicole Scherzinger is wearing. The Littlewoods marketing team can promote similar dresses that they sell and viewers are offered the chance to click through to investigate these.

“Our viewers like that; they want to know how they can get the clothes. We like that and Littlewoods like it as well because it links editorial to their brand and has immediacy. It is an interesting example of how you can create real-time interaction.”

Grant said the second screen ad opportunities are an upsell to first screen advertising and are a means to get a Return on Investment against second screen app costs.

Axonista collaborated with TV3 to develop ShowPal and Civolution’s SyncNow Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology is integrated with the Axonista Ediflo platform to provide automatic content identification and then real-time synchronization of content between the main screen and the second screen. The system provides precise accuracy for the synchronization and can be used with live/linear or recorded/on-demand content. Grant told the London audience that on-demand is not considered a major use case for advertising, however.

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