Last Thursday Mint Digital hosted 2Screen – A London-based speaker event that addresses how TV’s and secondary screens can be used simultaneously.
There’s a pretty good chance most of us have used a second screen while watching TV. Whether it’s to look for more info on what we’re watching, to see what else is on, find out if your friends are also watching or commenting on it, we’ve all glanced at our smartphones or tablets or laptops at some point while watching the box.
There are three prominent ways we use secondary devices with TV:
- We gather information with them (McLaren’s Pitwall)
- We communicate with our friends on them (Still cornered by twitter, somehow)
- Content allowing, we participate with or contribute to what we’re watching (X-Factor app, Gossip Girl’s Social Climbing)
With this in mind, 2Screen decided to put together an exciting line-up of speakers ‘to discuss the intersection of TV and the social web’.
Our first speaker was Andy Hood, Executive Creative at AKQA with Heineken’s Star Player app – a gamified app designed to compliment your football watching experience when home alone. The Star Player app is essentially a game you can play in conjunction with the match you are watching. You can anticipate goals, win points, and climb the leaderboard to beat your friends.
Next up was David Flynn, Managing Director of Remarkable Television. His presentation revolved around The Million Pound Drop’s online play-along game. Viewers can play alongside the onscreen contestants and be in for a chance for a spot on the show itself.
Finally, Russell Davies of Campaign and Wired fame decided to take a more constructive approach than his counterparts by contextualising the use of secondary screens, as well as posing the question ‘Why stop at 2 screens?’. Interestingly enough, he was also the only speaker to actually use two screens for his presentation.
For all intents and purposes this proved the overarching issue with the 2Screen model: offering further details outside of the viewers’ peripheral vision impairs them to focus on what should be the primary goal – watching TV. 2Screen should compliment the viewing experience, not become the main focus. Albeit with things such as The Apprentice, the back channel can often offer more insight and entertainment than the show itself.
With the rate at which we are bitesizing our information, creating further distractions doesn’t seem to be the best way forward. Recent technological advancements must offer innovative solutions for our need to interact with others while we watch television, such as Kinect technology or 3D screens.
The key point of combining TV with the social web was left untouched too. With two gaming talks and an abstract thought piece in tow, the concept of using social media mechanics to enhance a viewers’ focus on TV content was left unaddressed.
In all the event was too mixed and lacked guidance, thus left the crowd somewhat underwhelmed. With the attention 2Screen has gained since its inception 3 years ago, maybe it should take a bold step forward and start thinking about the future of how we use multiple screens, as opposed to showcasing what has emerged over the last year.
Marc Rousseau Joyce