No doubt, Second Screen, Social TV and other enhanced broadcasting applications are increasingly popular.

Here are some giveaways from our “Second Screen” webinar.

  • Trends. As stated by Accenture’s Francesco Venturini, Video over IP and the associated IP disruption is probably the biggest innovation in the history of the industry “formerly known” as Broadcasting. It is redefining all the elements of a broadcaster operating model: technologies (migrating to IP and IT), core processes (becoming more and more B2c and data driven), networks (becoming open and multipurpose) and devices (increasing exponentially, well beyond the traditional main screen).
  • Francesco identified the 5 main impacts of video over IP (and Second Screen) over the media industry, namely:
    • a highly complex and developing ecosystem, with lots of different players entering the video value chain from different angles and leveraging different assets threatening traditional broadcasters with their scale and string financial strength;
    • constantly evolving operating models designed for agility and time to market and business models with no clear cut golden rule on digital consumer monetization;
    • value of content amplified by “context”, as linear video and Vod become increasingly interconnected and new services are built to engage a more sophisticated end user;
    • the norm of Multi “x”, as video travels across screens and new B2C capabilities and brand relationships need to be built;
    • the ever increasing importance of technology in a creative industry to enable lasting competitive advantage.
  • Mastering the above trends requires a significant change in the DNA of a broadcaster. A recent Accenture survey highlights how consumers place an increasing amount of trust in traditional video players as the preferred provider of broadband video services. But this new order requires constant and continuous innovation so as to avoid that this trust does not migrate elsewhere
  • Stats and Marketing. As stated by Nielsen’s Johann Dudley, social media has transformed television viewing into a “stadium experience”, even for people watching alone at home. According to the 2014 Nielsen Digital Consumer Report, 84% of U.S. smartphone and tablet owners today watch television with a second screen in hand. And the devices are fostering a surge of real-time social media conversation between friends, fans and talent as programs unfold. With more and more global TV viewers warming up to the social TV norm, viewers have become valuable social ambassadors for programmers and advertisers alike as they amplify content and messaging through their social spheres. E.g., with Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings conversations on Twitter can be analyzed in real-time for each program aired in the U.S., Italy (and soon in Australia and Mexico) across several hundred television channels and several thousand brands. There are new measures of the total activity (Tweets, Unique Authors) and reach (Impressions, Unique Audience) of TV-related conversations on Twitter.
  • Technology and User Experience. As stated by HyperTV’s Claudio Vaccarella, whilst on the content side the main producers remain focused on single screen videos, gamification mechanics have become fundamental in creating a new age of entertainment shows. X, Y, millennials grew up playing with game console. They are used to active entertainment form. So, to be successful in the future, established media outlets “cannot limit their focus in the living room. They need to engage with their users anywhere and anytime”. Mobile interaction technologies, which provide real time information on users’ context and behavior, will become increasingly relevant.
  • Regulatory. A fundamental point remains the regulatory a-symmetry between the first and second screens. In most jurisdictions around the world, traditional TV is still regulated differently from other forms of digital content. In many cases this is the result of both the historical development of the relevant technology but also the fact that law and policy makers can still say – just – that traditional TV is different to that other content. Obviously as TV becomes less traditional that distinction breaks down.
  • For instance, as stated by our Duncan Calow, in the UK editorial content is subject first to OFCOM rules on Broadcast TV; then subject to the lighter touch rules of the regulator ATVOD on video demand & catch-up services; and finally subject to no specific regulator on the second screen. Obviously this assumes that first or second tier content is not being sent direct to the second screen. Advertising content is now overseen by the same regulator, the ASA, but a different set of rules applies to Broadcast TV compared with both on-demand and second screen services.
  • Yet if synchronization methods between the first and second screen become more sophisticated or automatic or opaque -whether launching editorial or advertising content- the potential for consumer harm and regulator discomfort increase. Especially if that is combined with attempts to circumvent advertising or scheduling restrictions that apply on the first screen but not on the second. And if electronic programme guides and/or functional control of the first screen develop around the second screen, indeed if more content flows via the second screen to the first, this three-tier hierarchy may be threatened.
  • Obviously some of this just reflects the wider convergence concerns of regulators generally, that we have discussed in other webinars, with the potential migration from digital broadcast to IPTV and Over The Top and Multicast delivery. The relative adoption rates for this varies significantly between territories, even within the EU, and much might depend on how far second screen services develop around editorial or advertising content as well as practical issues of technical infrastructure, interoperability and accessibility.
  • Also just because there is no specific second screen regulator right now does not mean that editorial content isn’t subject to the general law. And as we saw in the very first of our webinar sessions on the topic of social media there is plenty of content regulation going on out there, just to take one example in the UK, we now have the Attorney General issuing contempt of court guidance to bloggers and tweeters just as he or she always has to Fleet Street newspaper editors. Equally, a range of ASA rules apply for anyone commercialising social media in the UK from identifier hash tags to controls on promotional user generated content.
  • So, in the UK (and I may add at least also for Italy!), there are still plenty of rules to follow even on the third tier of regulation and, as ever with digital media, you have the regulator’s desire to be ahead of the curve tempered with the need to see in which direction market and technical developments actually lead.
  • Contracts. As for contracting with Second Screen services / technology suppliers, I have noted that there remains the traditional structure of tech sourcing agreements, with a focus on development, implementation and go-live phases. Form a broadcasters’ perspective, Second Screen opens a direct link with the end consumers. Accordingly, all privacy and social media “contamination” will require a clearer understanding of the parties’ role. Data ownership and reliability, profiling and content responsibility issues (including, for instance, false endorsements) – which we have also discussed in our previous webinars – will have to be carefully addressed.