SecondScreen to be the DoubleClick of the Multiplatform TV Universe?

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Will they become the the DoubleClick of the Social TV space? Some people think they are moving in the right direction and they have pending patents to boot.

Cory Bergman from Lost Remote explains further:

Working in concert with publishers, Second Screen knows what TV show a user is watching. As a show airs, Second Screen “watches” the live stream, using its technology to recognize commercials inside the show as they air. “We are moment by moment fingerprinting the video streams,” Tapper explains. Live commercials are compared against Second Screen’s database. As advertisers sign up for the network, they’ll add their TV commercials into the growing database.

Very interesting. This audio synch space is heating up.

Yahoo recently paid an enormous 20+ million for 12 week old startup IntoNow - essentially the Shazzam of the TV space that uses Audio synching technology as well. There are two methods of the technology - one called audio fingerprinting - which is slight less reliable and maps audio on-the-fly against massive databases - and audio watermarking - which is where audio is pre-embedded in the broadcast playout to create triggers on second screen... and inaudible audio to the human ear in both cases. But some industry insiders critical of IntoNow technology says it's unproven still - and, though it has a WOW factor, there's a lot of issues around noise (the ambiance around the second screen has to be fairly quiet or it won't be picked up) and it's not HTML 5 friendly and calls for native apps exclusively - which means passing tech specs by Apple and Android for every change or update in the app. 

SecondScreen won't have this problem because they are doing it all server side and pushing to web sites - likely with publically available broadcast feeds into their datacenter. 

More from Bergman:

Second Screen is piloting their push ad network on the popular American Idol fan site for the show’s finale this week. “We know everyone in there is watching American Idol,” Tapper tells Lost Remote. “When we see ads that we have matching digital creative for, we serve those ads” on the website.

For the Idol finale, Second Screen will be testing “poll style” rich media ads, but Tapper says his company is investing a lot of effort in evaluating what types of ads perform on second screen devices. “It’s pretty clear that just a straight banner ad isn’t the best idea,” he said. “It needs to be attractive and doesn’t throw people out of the experience they’re in.” Second Screen is able to push ads that sync not only with commercials, but also with the demographic profile of a given user.

Janko Roettgers from Gigom also had some great points.

The Idol fan site will display a number of banner ads that directly react to commercials shown on TV, asking viewers whether the Ford commercial on their TV screen is convincing enough for them to buy a new car.

These synchronized web ads have been developed by Second Screen Networks, a New York-based startup that aims to monetize TV-related interaction on laptops and mobile devices. Second Screen CEO Seth Tapper told me today during a phone conversation that he wants to build something like a DoubleClick for the multitasking environment that is today’s living room. There’s good reason to do so: Just last week, Nielsen said that 70 percent of all tablet owners user their devices while watching TV. And late last year, a study found that 86 percent of mobile users access the Internet on their device while watching TV.

...Tapper said that his company has been working on this technology since September. The ads shown tonight are still unpaid prototypes, but the company has already gotten some great feedback from advertisers who want more accountability and direct feedback for their TV commercials. And for many, it’s not that much of a leap to have web ads align with their broadcast campaigns, since most advertisers already use TV for brand awareness and digital to get a direct respone. “All digital campaigns are meant to sync with ads on TV,” Tapper said, “just not at the same time.”

However, getting the ad experience on the second screen right will be crucial, said Tapper. “Slowly but steadily ads on the web have become more intrusive,” he explained. Making sure that doesn’t happen on the second screen is one of the reasons why his company wants to start a dialogue with all the app makers and everyone else involved to establish new standards for second screen advertising. “We need to find out what works in this space,” he said.

The main problem with the technology is right now - or let's call it the hurdle - is getting time zone differences right - and they are doing it  by bluntly asking visitors of the site whether they’re getting to see this or that commercial on their TV at any given time. But it's still clearly in it's early days and cheers to the for giving up time and space for beta testing.

And in order to get this right, building solid relationships with the broadcasters might ease the problem of getting live audio feeds from all timezones and commercials. 








About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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