Multiplatform Synced Ad Draws 23 per cent Interactivity Rates for USA Net, Ford, and SecondScreen Networks Indicating Second Screen TV Advertising Works

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Steve Smith over at Medapost is reporting that a recent test of synchronized two screen advertising, running in a USA Network ad spot, a Web site, Facebook and a tablet app engaged 23% of the people viewing the ad on second screens.

“It was off the charts,” Seth Tapper, CEO, SecondScreen Networks told Mediapost, the mobile tech company that facilitated the multi-display experience for USA and its client Ford Lincoln Mercury. “We aren’t sure what that means for the future, but they were happy,” he said.

Congratulations to Tapper and his team - but it's hardly surprising. With recent reports at showing that 70 per cent of US tablet owners are using them while watching TV and 76 per cent of UK audiences are media stacking using smart phones, tablets, notebooks, laptops and PCs while watching TV.

More from Mediapost:

The Ford Lincoln Mercury spot ran on the finale episode of USA’s “Necessary Roughness” series. When the ad for the MKX automobile appeared in the episode, SecondScreen launched a complementary rich media unit across USA’s CharacterChatter app on its Web site, on Facebook and on an iPad companion app. CharacterChatter is designed to enable viewer chats and complementary content during a live airing of an episode.

In this sync ad, the second screens offered users a poll that involved both the car and a character on the “Necessary Roughness” series. Of the people using the CharacterChatter app at the time, 23% interacted with the ad.

SecondScreen Networks appear to be using audio fingerprinting or watermarking technology to pinpoint the moment to the listening application - when the ad arrives on the big screen - and triggering the second screen advertising - pushing and providing a concurrent experience for the viewer. Audio fingerprinting was first made famous by a UK music identification company called Shazam who now have over 100 million users and were recently raised 32 million dollars to tackle Social TV. Intonow was the first company to use audio fingerprinting to identify TV shows in early 2011 - and were acquired 3 months later by Yahoo.

Tapper also told Mediapost that this is harder than it sounds and cannot be done reliably using the timeline on the broadcast playout systems - and that there was a serious innaccuracy in the “play out” schedule for when the ad was supposed to drop on air.

“The technology picked it up at the right point anyway,” he says, and the rich media unit displayed as planned across the apps. The system even was able to handle the last-minute addition of Facebook into the mix. “If you tried to do this by hand and by time code, it would fail,” he says.

Not surprisingly, the article also noted that recent research shows that tablet and mobile device users are engaging the second screen heavily on their own during TV viewing. And Twitter stats pretty much make that clear - spiking heavily during commercials during prime time viewing in the USA.

He [Tapper] sees some of the greatest, earliest opportunity in sports programming, where device users often are watching one media outlet on air and consulting another in hand. “People’s habits are hard to break,” he warns media companies. “If you don’t become that place to greet them [on the second screen], it will be hard to break them of those habits.”


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