You say second screen. I say first!

social liquid TV www.youngdigitallab.comI stole this ticklish title from Ogilvie Entertainment futurist presentation ‘The end of TV as we know it’, a nice piece of work designed by @Dougscottogilvy and @Themattdoh.

It clearly hit the nails that mobile, not TV, will become the ‘first screen’.

I was walking the alleys of TV connect last week,  enjoying the thriving realm of enhanced TV, watching the tide of second screen companion apps and social TV sweeping across our living room. Amidst the crowd of connected TV sets, one question came to my mind: what about the role of mobile as a triggering device for media? And what if this were the end of the TV grid, and the rise of interactive remote control apps on smart phones and tablet, guiding you anywhere anytime to profiled content?

2012 Google multiscreen research notes that Smart Phones have the highest number of user interactions per day, and serve as the most common ‘starting point’ for activities across multiple screens. Time has come to rethink the media experience, starting from a mobile point of view.

Experts panel

Harnessing affirmative experts statements on the ‘pivotal role’ of mobile device is a no brainer:

  • “Mobile platforms will act as a catalyst for the next generation of connected experiences” (Forrester Analyst Thomas Husson)
  • “Smartphones and tablets are proving to be a critical bridge in connecting experiences across multiple channels. (Shubhradeep Guha, India SapientNitro Manager)
  • “It’s used everywhere, it’s not just used to consume media, it’s used while consuming other media” (Stragey Analytics, David MacQueen)
  • “As second screen, mobile activates other media, drives tune-in, product research, or immediate purchase” (Mobile Marketing Association, Paul Palmieri)
  • “As a remote control or personal media scheduler, our phone acts as media consumption funnel” (Needham’s analyst Laura Martin)
  • “Social TV drives interactive programmes where the remote control is our smart phone” (@agenceindigo)
  • “Smart phones are the backbone of our daily media interactions” (Google Ipsos, multiscreen world)

Beinng personal, interactive, carried constantly, mobile is all set to be the ‘first screen’.

Mobile TV-multiscreen

Weak signals

Sketching out on the horizon, one can see weak signals following the same path: multiple screens, individual viewing, through ‘ultra-portable control device like smart phones, tablets, and next phablets :

  • ‘Nearly one of two people aged between 12 and 39 owns a smart phone’ (Credoc France)
  • ‘Streaming video over tablet and smartphone has crossed an inflection point, viewing has jumped 100% in one year’ (@DigitalTVEurope via Ooyala)
  • ‘Deploying LTE mobile network will result in a 4X increase in connection speeds and huge growth in video streaming’ (@filloux, Mobile World Congress);
  • ‘LTE-broadcast could turn our phones and tablets into mobile DVRs’ (@Gigacom);
  • ‘Mobile devices overtake TV in the bedroom: among 36% people watching video in the bedroom, 46% view it on a smartphone, 41% on a tablet, and 36% on broadcast TV. Consumers want more flexibility across a variety of devices in how they view programming’ (Motorola Mobility’s Media Barometer);
  • ‘63% of tablet owners now use their device to watch live TV’ (TV Licensing’s Telescope 2013 report);
  • ‘66% of tablet owners stream video 2 to 3 times a week, in average 30 mns’; (@rovicorp);
  • ‘mobiles and tablets accounted for over a quarter of all iPlayer requests in 2012’ (BBC);
  • ‘85% of viewing on the ‘HBO Go’ on-demand service in the US is of series rather than movies’ (HBO);
  • ‘We’re consuming content in new ways: binge-watching episodic TV, watching video on smartphones and on tablets’ (Nielsen Zero-TV homes)
  • In 2010, nearly 40% of the viewers were watchning TV alone (Insee France).

Following successive stages of interactive TV and TV on-demand (IPTV), Smart TV, Social TV, and Second screen, we are finally entering the era of nomadic screen, the ultimate ‘liquid screen’ experience.

TV & smartphone

Designing a compelling mobile experience for media use

Smart phones being at the center of our media use, I wish to turn mobile into a pivotal presence for the consumer, shifting to ‘experience roaming’ over any screen: it involves designing a consistent media interaction across the different places and moments of our day, and over the multiple screens we face.

To make relevant every minute of our mobile experience, I think of:

  • Mobile DNA: no screen is more personal, engaging, and filled with opportunities than mobile, as it brings ‘intimacy, immediacy, and contextuality’. Furthermore, mobile can enhance viewing with augmented reality and NFC technologies, and Apple has learned us that you can turn it and shake it asw ell! Mobile is an utterly powerful platform to support the user in his next move to entertainment;
  • Instant discovery: letting the viewer find quickly something relevant to watch in his timeframe, or to bookmark in his ‘watch later’ list. Less is more: one accurate tip at the right moment is the right swing. My dream-experience is one single place to discover, search,  save, schedule, watch, control, listen, share, add, and interact;
  • Simple design: implementing straightforward interactions and clear call-to-actions, banishing technologism (check-in, …), erasing all difficulty in the experience, ‘reinforcing behaviors, not forcing them“.
  • Stimulating feedback: rewarding micro-moments of viewer journey, engaging the viewer into progressive levels as in a game, unlocking special content, presenting his status and influence to the community, turning the discovery into a pleasure, not a learning fatigue;
  • Permanent usefulness: making the mobile app useful even when you’re not in front of the TV, setting-up appointments along the day, reminding the viewer of show not to be missed, automatically refueling him with daily content hints;
  • Social interaction: combining social TV with rich second screen experience, unfolding communal discovery, sparking the feeling that viewers are achieving something together;
  • User knowledge: capturing interactions, yielding insights, collecting data to refine user knowledge and sharpen our suggestions, customizing relationship, differentiating new versus returning visitor, expert vs beginner. Personalized content discovery ensures continued user engagement and loyalty;
  • API Openness: letting others buid value on top of our platform, and creating an innovation ecosystem;
  • Scaling: starting small and growing carefully, with a staged approach, preparing for mass market usage: nobody is immune to success!

Sounds exciting? I agree, and I can’t wait to achieve a first MVP, test, iterate, figure it out, and make it really stunning!


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  1. Forgot the QOS and COST aspect. It is too expensive to own a mobile and just have it for Email and Phone-calls. In France alone you are disconnected on a regular basis if you are in public transport (where you are likely to use TV on mobile)..

  2. TY for the comment. LTE is assumed to have a strong impact on QoS, something like the ADSL revolution compared to RTC. Offline content is another option. Regarding cost of ownership, recent entrants have shown that price paradigms are here to be changes. Also, it’s not only about viewing content, but contextually interacting with: discover, get informed, select, save for later.

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