Second screens are now becoming more and more common in popular television. The viewer uses a second screen as assistance to a television show that often compliments or adds information on the already existing content showed on television. Usually it is comes in the form of an app on a tablet or mobile device and or a website used on the computer that provides this information.
Almost every television program such as Mad Men, The Bachelor, Pretty Little Liars, Big Brother etc. are making use of a second screen. The benefit of second screens is that it provides the audience with the extra information they want while at the same time acting as an incredibly proactive form of marketing for the program. This is seen clearly through the use of second screens in Big Brother Australia.
Big Brother is a reality television show that was created by John de Mol but adopted by Australia in 2001. It essentially broadcasts the lives of ‘housemates’ or ‘contestants’ who are locked in a house, and are isolated from the outside world with no electronic devices or knowledge of the outside worlds events. The purpose of the game is to outlast the other housemates in the house for a final cash prize, and often a car.
They make use of second screens through voting, extra information on each housemates, extras, keeps you up to date on the latest news, polls, twitter and Facebook updates. Due to these extras that second screens are providing they are becoming widely used and now up to two thirds of viewers are using them (Crawshaw, J. 2014).
Its only becoming more prominent through apps through giveaways and competitions being available through these apps. (Alsever, J. 2012). Television has always been a passive medium, but now with second screens it’s allowing the audience to become active and allows them to interact with what’s happening on screen.
Big Brother allows interactivity through the live updates on twitter and Facebook by the public that are then used on the app and then shown on the screen while the program is being broadcasted. This helps the viewer gain a deeper understanding of the program and the way others interact with it as well. It allows the viewer to see what kind of people watch the show, for example it is often young people who post to social media when watching Big Brother. Furthermore it also provides the television company data of how many people interact with the program; a more advanced version of customer relationship management (CRM).
The notion of second screens helps the understanding of television and the new direction that it is taking in terms of developing technology, but also helps understand the program Big Brother to a deeper level. Now with second screens more content is being shared and it creates a world of its own.
This also raises the question as to whether seconds screens will slowly become the main screen. On top of all these features of second screens Big Brother (and many more programs) are now featuring play back. Interaction with the program via second screens avoids viewers from distraction from their program through Facebook and Instagram. This means that their use of the second screen is now focused on entirely in program rather than be distracted by other things. So viewing is becoming flexible. It doesn’t have to be watched at a certain time or a certain place, it has quite literally allowed television to go mobile.
Alsever, J. (2012) ‘Second Screens With a View’, Fortune, 166, 7, pp. 62-1NULL, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 14 August 2015.
Crawshaw, J. (2014) Two thirds of mobile media consumers use a second screen; MEFs 13-country Insight Report on Second Screens reveals global usage trends for the second screen and assesses impact on the mobile market 2014, , Coventry.