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Today none of us wants to do without our smartphone at any time or place. This device has turned everyone into a multitasker. One eye on the TV, another on our smartphone, watching a film we google for reviews, look for live Twitter responses watching sports events or text our best friend – second screen in our pocket makes it all possible. Sometimes we give more attention than the TV.

Some insightful stats from Google on consumer multi-screen behaviour:

  • 48% searches on PC/laptop are planned, while searches on smartphone are more
    spontaneous at 80%.
  • 54% of smartphone use is motivated by communication followed by entertainment at
  • Top 3 activities performed during simultaneous screen usage – emailing remains top at 60%, followed by internet browsing 44% and social networking at 42%.

In the last couple of years we have seen many changes – growth of internet usage, smartphone penetration, cheap data, OTT the buzz word and so on… For me it was remarkable to see broadcasters using 2nd screen interactivity to engage more with their television audiences.

  • KBC Play-Along in 2017 garnered 3.5million avg. daily players and an increase in viewership by over 70%.
  • Last year Hotstar introduced Watch’N Play, a mix of trivia and predictive questions – 200 million viewers watched IPL on hotstar, 10million plus simultaneous viewers and over 2 billion questions answered.
  • Colors Rising Stars, concept of real time vote display had 6 million unique participants.
  • Sony Indian Idol, Sing Along got them over 1million unique players and 6k hours of song uploads.
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In the west:

  • Facebook venturing into TV shows with Facebook Watch, plans to launch interactive features like polls and quizzes to foster a greater sense of community between creators and users.
  • GoT planned for world’s first online crowdsourced roast.
  • Big Brother 2018, granted prizes and punishments to houseguests based on their trending ranks provided by viewers on the BB app.

Interactivity brings significant benefits to broadcasters as they compete for advertising with the new media companies who can provide millions of profiled audiences. Interactivity will help broadcasters generate viewer data, understanding consumption patterns and most importantly, increasing time spent on television.

I hope on the advertising front, dependency on BARC numbers and pressures to deliver CPRP will ease eventually as we have more data points to support. However this asks for a change in buying patterns. Can TV buying happen on dashboard?

The answer lies in innovation & disruption. Giving example of Zapr a startup that makes TV ad viewing interactive with the largest media consumption repository and audience targeting platform. Zapr has also attracted funding from Star India which gives Hotstar and the star channels to have a crack at monetization. A close watch on Network 18 owned by Reliance, their presence across television channels, digital, telecom and now cable distribution provides them with a bigger advantage to understand audience behaviour pattern and be a game changer.

I think it’s time for broadcasters to experiment with more content formats for 2nd screen interactivity, look at monetizable opportunities, introduce loyalty programs and more importantly be fast to launch the minimum viable product(MVP) and further keep making enhancements. For advertisers it is higher ROI and for viewers keep multitasking!

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