2nd Screen Is Breeding Innovation, Frustration

2nd Screen Is Breeding Innovation, Frustration 6/30/2013 8:00 PM Eastern

NEW YORK — Second-screen apps have exploded in popularity, but achieving scale, marketing apps and proving results all remain serious challenges, according to a panel of brand experts at Thursday’s 2nd Screen Summit NYC.

“There was a point on the network side, in the old days of 12 months ago, when there was a ticking of the box,” David Cohn, vice president of music and TV partnerships at Shazam, said. “We’re reading about this, are we doing anything about it? Let’s work with Shazam so we can put out a press release and all look smart.’ That’s evolving. Now they ask, ‘What’s the impact on ratings? Is there a revenue opportunity?’ It’s the same on the brand side. There’s always that balance of wanting to lead, wanting some experimentation but also wanting a return.”

From the brand perspective, “it still remains very experimental, but it doesn’t mean they’re not measuring it,” Jeremy Lockhorn, vice president of emerging media at Razorfish, said.

George Hammer, vice president and group director of digital strategy at Digitas, said the rapid growth of second- screen activity has presented brands with a vast sandbox to play in, but a very unfamiliar one.

“What we’re starting to see now is that people are spending 45 minutes on an app during a show,” Hammer said. “What’s the next frontier there? I think it’s about developing digital experiences that take full advantage of the time you have, versus just delivering another impression. The challenge is the fragmentation of the audience.”

Moderator Jeff Baumgartner, technology editor of Multichannel News, pointed out that seamlessly integrating brands with content remains a difficult feat, due to the multitude of devices, subscriptions and systems enabling second-screen enhancements.

“The best content experience is going to be done not by us or by the distributors, but by the content owners and creators,” Cohn said.

Even when compelling apps and campaigns are created, driving awareness and adoption is difficult. Few players outside of Twitter have the scale to push broad adoption. In terms of pushing viewers to second-screen apps, word of mouth is hard to beat, argued Christie Hartbarger, vice president of strategic alliances and field marketing at ad network YuMe.

Dade Hayes is Broadcasting & Cable executive editor.

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