IBC 2011 Trends: the Second Screen and Social TV

written by: Emma Wells

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As the buzz around IBC starts to grow, 2 key trends have stood out; this year the second screen and social TV are sure to make a big splash at the show:

Second Screen Apps


A key trend at IBC will be audience interaction on the second screen- especially with companion devices (smart phones and tablets) and the next batch of smart TVs. The mobile world of tablets and smartphones is starting to converge with the content that comes into the home through the set-top box (STB) resulting in new opportunities for innovation.

Second screen integrations like Social TV Check-in, Ad Response and Frame Accurate Media Synchronization apps are going to become even easier to use with the inclusion ACR (Automatic Content Recognition) which can recognize the video being played and trigger a custom response on the companion screen. And as STBs become smarter, the second screen is set to become an integrated part of the lean-back experience - enabling social TV to become a reality.

By connecting second screen devices with what’s playing on the TV, there is a huge opportunity to enrich the mainstays of linear TV schedules with supplementary information and interactivity. Companies at IBC with second screen demos at IBC include Motorola, Samsung, and TV Genius, to name a few.

Social TV

Clearly, the second screen is closely tied to the idea of social TV. Each week sees new social TV announcements, with startups like Umami and Bluefin Labs entering the social TV space. And it’s not just little companies exploring this area - broadcasters like the BBC, NBC and ABC are all extending their digital strategies to include social.

Social TV is here and it is happening now; social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook are already complementing and enhancing the TV experience. The reality of how we watch video in the age of social TV takes engagement with content, and other viewers, to the next level.

Social media is also starting to play a key role in content discovery. At IBC, TV Genius will be demonstrating how operators can leverage what friends are doing and what shows are trending in order to discover hot TV content in real-time. Social content discovery has the added bonus that it also encourages interactivity and engagement- after finding a new piece of content viewers can easily join in the conversation.

During the show there is also a keynote by Facebook, various social TV seminars, and TV Genius’ own business briefing “Viewers Like This: Measuring Engagement Through the Power of Social” with GfK, Veronica, and William Cooper from InformITV.

These trends are just scraping the surface of what will be on offer at IBC. This picture is by no means complete; expect the biggest announcements to happen during the show so watch this space!

Emma Wells is the marketing guru at TV Genius (www.tvgenius.net/blog). Recently acquired by Red Bee Media, the TV Genius Content Discovery Platform offers relevant search and recommendations. Combined with rich metadata, the software acts as a key differentiator in addressing this challenge. Emma manages TV Genius’ social media and marketing programmes, along with blogging every week on the latest TV trends. Follow her on Twitter @TV_Genius

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