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Apps Driving Second-Screen And Social-TV Viewing

Stamford, Conn. — Tablets, smartphones and Ultrabooks are helping energize second-screen TV viewing and helping boost social-TV activities, Gartner said in a recent study.

Gartner noted that TV viewing has always been a shared experience, albeit within the home up to this point, but the advent of social networks allows viewers to take their opinions and analysis outside to connected friends and family.

The study cited several factors as to why these new devices will dominate the social-TV experience:

*the failure of the trend to catch on using connected TVs and media streaming devices to access social media sites;

*the increase in the number of apps specifically designed to enhance this activity; and

*incentive programs developed to encourage direct engagement via check-ins or game tie-ins.

Michael Gartenberg, Gartner research director, said that these three trends are now being combined to produce a single social-TV experience that will be primarily delivered through tablets, smartphones and Ultrabooks.

This trend will eventually benefit hardware vendors, telecoms and cable companies, he said.

By adding additional utility, more consumers will begin using these products for viewing programming. Content providers can take advantage of the early stages of this trend by coming up with solutions that tie viewers to their method of participating in social TV.

“TV and video content providers such as cable companies have a great opportunity to target heavy users with social TV in order to reduce potential churn,” Gartenberg said, “The time to take advantage of this opportunity is right now as social-TV services have not yet been dominated by a single solution and the market is far from saturated.”

Despite the growing popularity of using portable devices to view programming, Gartenberg does not see the home’s large-screen TV being displaced.