Two-Screen Viewing Enhances TV Experience

How many nights a week do you sit in front of the TV with a mobile device in your hand or a notebook computer in your lap? Well, marketers are on to you—and they’ve named it “two-screen viewing.”

A new study by Deloitte’s media and entertainment group shows that three-quarters of television viewers are also either online, on the phone or texting.

“The initial fear was that Internet and mobile video and entertainment would slowly cannibalize traditional TV viewing,” says Nielsen Company media product leader Matt O’Grady. “But the steady trend of increased TV viewership alongside expanded simultaneous usage argues something quite different.”

Instead of detracting from program viewing, marketers say the two-screen experience can enhance it. They believe viewers feel more connected to the show when they are discussing it online, turning the shared viewing experience into an event. Engaging with other watchers of the program before, during and after the show via Facebook, Twitter and other sites creates a sense of camaraderie. This trend also encourages live viewing of an episode or awards show, instead of recording it on DVR.

“We know people are multitasking while they’re watching TV,” ABC-TV exec Albert Cheng told the New York Times. “The question is, how do we tap into that and create a whole different consumer experience? We don’t have all the answers, but we are definitely trying different things and seeing how people are reacting.”

ABC is the broadcast home to this Sunday’s (2/27) Academy Awards. The network is teaming with Oscar.com to live stream behind-the-scenes video of the big night. Through about 30 strategically placed cameras, viewers will get to see all the action on the red carpet, in the theater, backstage and at the post-awards Governors Ball. There is a free ad-supported version, or a $4.99 all-access pass. Also available is an Oscar Backstage Pass app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod for 99 cents.

In recent years, awards shows and other programs have been experimenting with ways to enhance viewing through social media. The CMA has hosted Twitter Viewing Parties and live streaming feeds for its awards. At fan-voted awards ceremonies, fans can often vote while the show is airing live.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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