Deloitte: Second screens pose a dilemma for TV and technology industry

Most MVPDs have taken a can't-beat-'em-join-'em approach to the ubiquitous second screens that are popping up around residential home entertainment centers, going so far as to incorporate them into TV Everywhere offerings. This doesn't mean, though, that subscribers are taking full advantage of those screens or that service providers aren't still worried about their impact on the pay TV business, a report released today by Deloitte suggests.

Second screening "is a source of excitement and concern for many in the TV and technology industry," Deloitte said in a news release breaking down some of the results of the June online survey it conducted with 4,000 respondents.

The report said that 24 percent of all survey respondents use second screens, with 16-24-year-olds the most active among that group. For the most part, the second screen is used for communication such as e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or to discuss what's being watched on TV but "the vast majority of over 55s (79 percent) never talk about what they're watching on TV on the Internet," the news release said.

The report also said that there is "muted appetite for interaction with TV programs" with only one in ten browsing the Internet for program information. About 40 percent of viewers "like being able to send their comments in to a live program" but, in a bit of disheartening news for advertisers, "68 percent would not want the websites for products, personalities or adverts that have just been shown on television to automatically appear on their computer, tablet or smartphone," the report continued.

Overall, the second screen is more important to viewers who want to talk about a program they're watching as opposed to interacting with it, said Paul Lee, director of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte in the news release.

"Second screening may well end up with a similar status as eating in front of the TV: an everyday experience for some; absolutely unthinkable for others," Lee said. "One thing is certain: it is here for good."

That could be to the benefit of MVPDs, if they want to invest the effort into a second screen offering, the Lee said.

"The challenge for the second screen content today is that it is likely to be relatively expensive as we are still in an experimental, bespoke phase. Every pound spend on second screen content may be a pound diverted from the first screen; in order to justify the investment content creators need to get the balance right between all screens," he said in the news release.

On the other hand, once that balance is set, "the easier it should be to attain a positive return on investment," he said, recommending that second screen experiences become "more formulaic and more easily reduced to a template."

For more:
- Deloitte issued this news release

Related articles:
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ABI: Pay-TV operators have hard time working with new breed of connected devices
IPTV service providers using multiscreen viewing options as a differentiator

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