Second screen apps a way to hide guilty pleasures

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 26 September 2014

Twitter and Facebook are piling into the TV space as complementary platforms, so where does that leave second screen TV apps?

According to Robb Beeston, general manager of Beamly (formerly Zeebox), second-screen apps are a way for audiences to engage with TV content without having to broadcast it to their entire social network. A way to hide guilty pleasures, if you will.

Viewers might want to yell and scream about the latest development in Big Brother, but not necessarily want to share that love of reality TV with everyone they know on Facebook, or Twitter.

Beeston, told AdNews on the sidelines of Sydney Social Media Week yesterday that specialist second-screen social TV apps offer that distance.

"Not everyone wants to share with their real-world friends that they're watching The Bachelor with because they may not have similar interests," he said.

"However they want to be in an environment with a bunch of fans around them. It's a way you can go and talk about your passion for that show without broadcasting to your entire social network."

He was speaking after a wide-ranging discussion on the rise and rise of Social TV and the second screen.

Both Twitter and Facebook have turned their attention to TV, and how their platforms can help advertisers connect with audiences, to tap into the growth of chatter about TV shows on the networks ahead of, during and after shows air.

Twitter's Amplify product has been in Australia for and the Nielsen Twitter TV ratings that launches earlier this month, with Channel Ten being the first broadcaster to sign up to the social analytics metric that tracks social engagement around live TV.

Sports is a key area of engagement for social networks, with this year's football World Cup garnering 672 million tweets in total, with 35.5 million of those coming during the broadcast of the Brazil vs Germany match.

Speaking at the same event, Nielsen's Scott Gillham, who heads up the Twitter TV ratings, said the reach of posts about a real-time TV show was about 50 times the original post while for sport the reach multiplier is higher, sitting at about 77 times

Despite being a relatively small player in the second-screen app space, Beamly is confident that it has found a growing niche. Beeston was quick to downplay the potential impact of Twitter's growing presence in TV, saying it was reaching a different market than Beamly was looking for.

"I think you need to look at the environment as something more complex than simply saying there is going to be one player. There are going to be multiple players in this space, and they're going to do different things," Beeston said.

“I think the point has been made that Twitter is for people like journalists, politicians, and academics. So if you're thinking of the average viewer sitting at home watching The Bachelor or The Voice, or a viewer who wanted to engage with secret and lies, will they be on Twitter or will they be looking for a more niche community?"

Having rebranded from Zeebox to Beamly earlier this year, it has started to explore the more unique experiences it can offer users. It worked with Ten on the “interactive drama” Secrets and Lies, earlier this year developing posts designed to appear at certain times during the broadcast, giving viewers live clues about 'whodunnit' along the way.

Beamly's interactive elements attracted 10,000 unique visitors over the six episodes and more than 3,000 posts and comments on the platform.

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