The Second Screen A Companion To TV Watching

The “second screen” (tablets, smartphones, PCs) which some argue is rapidly becoming the first screen, is part of our core experience as humans, now more than ever. It’s becoming rare for people to sit and watch TV or even go to a movie and watch a film without their second screen or, more accurately, without using their second screen while watching.

Of course, in theaters pre-movie announcements implore moviegoers to keep their second screen off to remove any interruptions from the silver screen, but big companies advertising on TV are hoping viewers will be distracted, at least long enough to reach for their second screen and potentially engage with the company using its app or website.

Brands Engage With Second Screen

Major brands are using TV and smartphones to engage consumers and encourage brand awareness/ interaction with consumers. In the U.K., Honda used an animated TV commercial to promote its Jazz hatchback. Users who downloaded the iPhone app could then physically swipe their phone at the ad (which aired on TV and the Internet) to interact with the characters and even cause them to dance by singing into the iPhone’s microphone. Various characters rotated in a series of spots kept consumers amused and looking for the next character to interact with.

During a freestyle snowboarding competition, Redbull released its Signature Series campaign that allowed users who used the Shazam app to get more point-of-view footage whenever they were watching TV and spotted the Shazam Now logo in the programming. Users could then experience what the snowboard run looked like from the riders’ point of view.

What is transmedia?

The approach is often referred to as transmedia storytelling, which creates a synergy between multimedia platforms. It is the practice of taking integral parts of a story and sharing it across various multimedia platforms with a unified goal in mind as well as tailoring the stories to the platform they reside on in order to create more buzz and exposure. So stories are often started in one location and spread to another medium, each story offering some unique bit of information. The content is designed to permeate consumers daily lives and extend the engagement by drawing consumers to consume the content from numerous platforms while delivering more aspects of the complete story.

Often companies make the mistake of using a strategy that involves simply repurposing and repeating the content without furthering the story. This is similar to a news station rehashing the same story, over and over again, in its 4 p.m,. 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. newscasts. Boring! Don’t get me wrong; this does indeed happen.

Certainly using the same video story on your website, YouTube channel, and your newsletter is fine. However, finding a way to advance the story and messages that you want your audience to hear through several stories that connect to the whole story over various multimedia platforms can be highly engaging and create more leads from multiple streams.

This can be a highly successful approach for nonprofits and companies trying to raise funds through websites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Beginning the story on one platform and continuing the story development across multiple platforms with each part of the story told in a way that utilizes the strengths of that particular medium helps build brand equity across many platforms. However, just like all brand journalism, the vital thread that intertwines the content and binds the success of transmedia is having a compelling story to tell. So spend time researching and exploring your company’s unique story to effectively share it with the world.

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Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia Brand Journalist who teaches: Think Like A Journalist, To Increase Your Bottom Line. She is also the Host of The Brand Journalism Advantage Podcast which features interviews with thought leaders from around the globe on marketing, brand journalism, and entrepreneurship. After 15 years in TV News as an Anchor/Reporter, Phoebe founded PCIN.TV. The Internet TV Station airs video stories from her online publications: Live Fit Magazine and The Plant-Based Diet as well as curates content from other sources. As a brand storyteller, Phoebe produces  business videos, articles, and photos to engage consumers and create brand evangelists.  Learn

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Phoebe Chongchua
Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia Brand Journalist, Brand Consultant & Marketing Strategist who is revolutionizing brand communication with consumers. She makes companies remarkable using brand journalism storytelling to grow their online presence, build a community, and gain greater market share. Phoebe is a former TV News journalist who helps brands gain a competitive advantage by learning to "Be the Media". Phoebe is the host of "The Brand Journalism Advantage" podcast and a "Top 50 Podcaster To Follow". Listen in iTunes or at