Marketers miss the true power of the Second Screen

Second Screen TV Tablet

 

Increasingly, we’re being told about the ‘power of the second screen’ and how 60% of men, in particular, have their tablet, or smartphone in front of them while consuming TV content. This has given rise to a sea of TV/Network related apps which aim and espouse to give the TV viewer more immersion into what they’re watching. The days of non-interactive television are coming to an end. But what about when the programme isn’t on, does the second screen still play a role when you’ve gone to the kettle after your programme?

 

The answer, according to this post from Google, is an emphatic, yes – especially using their search and YouTube tools, obviously.

 

The report, outlines both YouTube and Google trends around and following TV output, broadly speaking, it shows a year-on-year increase of viewers interacting on YouTube with other fans, and the shows, while on Google, carrying out research into shows, cast, episode information, etc.

 

The data from Google shows, that in the immediate two week period before a show premiere, interest peaks on both channels, with viewers and audiences hungry for information on a show, while current and long running shows generate search and YouTube activity year round (possibly due to syndication when not airing), new shows have peak interest around the premiere, which tails off to a degree following this, until the season end.

 

What the data also shows, is that while people may still be using second screen apps, which are run, usually directly by the network or show – they still go back to Google and YouTube for the more social awareness aspect, and research into shows – basically to see what other people thought of it, what other people expect from a show and whether there will be more episodes.

 

While there’s a lot of information to digest, and not all of it particularly new, what it does do is allow brands who either sponsor a show, or have their products placed in it, to use the suite of Google advertising tools at the right time, for the right audience in an incredibly targeted manner.

 

An example of this might be, Jameson’s Whiskey – Don Draper’s whiskey of choice on AMC’s Mad Men. This show is slightly unusual, in that it displays both characteristics of a new show, and a recurring show on Google – the season hiatus which dragged the show break on while the show was on Netflix gives a good idea of both kinds of above search interaction.

 

Jameson can, with data like this, take the second screen away from the television, where people are already bombarded with ads, and are not giving the tablet their full attention, to the kitchen, where the viewer might go afterwards. Using specific key terms for ads, and SEO they can monopolise in the run up and duration of the show, timing ads to run during the show run, or catch up and repeat times – the growth of DVR and catchup services, unfortunately makes viewing times much more fluid in our On Demand world. Pre-roll ads on YouTube can also take advantage of the status of the drink within Mad Men.

 

Ultimately, as second screen grows alongside on demand viewing and contextual advertising, it’s important to consider that the second screen isn’t just on the sofa, it follows a viewer around their house, while apps are useful for during the show, people will watch YouTube or search Google around the show when they can give it their attention, this is where brands can monopolise on interest, it isn’t always about the flashy app, sometimes digital marketing is about the age old principles of timing, placement and emotional connections – you don’t need to be always on, but you need to make sure people see when you are.

Sony’s Slanty Stab at a Tab

Today I’m having a look at the Sony Tablet S. One of the newest Android tablets on the market, this device really sets itself apart from the competition in so many ways. Let’s look at some of the best and key features on the Sony Tablet.

At first glance, it’s one of the most uniquely designed tablets, with a nice folded and slanting design which creates a much more comfortable usability and browsing experience. The slanted design cleverly hides the huge host of ports, which allow you to connect more devices and share data seamlessly. These include; volume buttons, data ports, SD Card slots, mini USB port, IR Port, headphone jack and power port. This all gives the device a nice seamless look, without distracting you with various buttons and slots from the screen. The screen itself is a gorgeous 9.4″ gloss screen with a 1280-800 resolution.

Sony Tablet S

Smooth, sleek and slanted...

Under the (very) sleek hood, this tablet is packing a lot, with; 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, an impressive NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, gyroscope, DLNA technology and a front and rear facing camera not to mention a solid 8 hours of battery life with standard usage. You really can take everything with you wherever you go. The true black, 9.4″ screen also means that you can browse websites, magazines, newspapers, photos and movies with a crystal clear image in stunning quality.

But it isn’t just the hardware that’s impressive. Running Android’s powerful 3.1 Gingerbread, with the option to upgrade to 3.2, this is not only a well designed tablet, it’s also easy to use for a host of different things to suit whatever you need to do. The user interface is sleek, clear and easy to navigate, offering all of your most important apps right where you need them. There’s already a lot of handy apps natively installed on the tablet, including YouTube, Gmail (with an improved interface) and the Android Marketplace which allows you to download any of the thousands of apps available there such as the Universal Remote Control app, allowing you to take control of any of your home devices. The build-in browser offers a web experience, which is second to none, offering full Flash support so that you can see the web as it’s meant to be seen.

Sony decides to run Android Gingerbread

Sony decides to run Android Gingerbread

Sony Tablet is also Playstation certified, meaning that you can play your favourite titles with ease from the online store. This is probably one of the biggest selling points for the app, and really is the big draw for Sony to play on. The iconic and powerful brand really adds weight to what this tab really is all about and helps attract some of the more serious gamers away from the likes of the iPad, which already has a growing reputation for more and more advanced games.

While the Sony has made a really solid attempt at a tablet, there are a few drawbacks; my big one is the shape. While I genuinely find it actually quite attractive, the teardrop slant means that portrait is very uncomfortable, and I like my tablets (along with a lot of people) in Portrait mode, for magazines and newspapers particularly. The other is the overall interface, coming from iOS to Sony’s Android interface; I found it comparatively messy, lacking the organized simplicity that comes naturally to Apple products.

While I won’t be ditching my iPad anytime soon, as the app environment is still that bit ahead of Android, the Sony Tablet isn’t a bad start. But with Amazon having jumped in the game, Sony really have lost out, and it’s a shame as this really is a nice product.

iPad wi-fi dropping… sometimes…

A few days after the release of the long awaited iPad, many new owners are reporting problems with their gadget’s wi-fi.

Hundreds have reported that their new tablet computer, which has been lauded as the saviour of print media, and a revolution to portable computing, is having big wi-fi problem.

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Google to take on Apple? Again?!

Google looks set to release their own pad computer following Apple’s release of it’s long expected iPad on Wednesday.

If the rumours and mock-ups are true then it brings Google’s attempts to jump into the hardware industry and tackle Apple’s might into the foreground.

Looks like an iPad, a... G-Pad? Too many jokes right there...

The software giant may be taking advantage of the criticisms being thrown at Apple over the iPad, such as lack of flash and webcam integration, and the manufacturers well-known strictness when dealing with apps and software which need to be approved before appearing in the app store for download.

Google’s open source nature may deal a serious blow to Apple’s attempt to take over the ebook and new found pad market (even if it is just the old tablet market with a new lease of life), using a pad running its open-source Chrome OS which the device will probably run on but is still to be tested on any major scale in the consumer market.

Whether or not Google’s device could be an iPad killer is yet to be seen, if it is released at all. The search giant’s much awaited Nexus One was expected to be an iPhone killer when it came out earlier this year, however take up has been poor and failed to dent the growing iPhone market which is showing little or no signs of being slowed by a competitor.

Google definitely don’t bring the wow factor or coolness to the table that Apple does, or even the hardened experience and solid production that Microsoft brings, but at the very least it they show the computer world that Google is tenacious and wouldn’t be put off by a let down by a larger competitor, even if they can’t match the hype levels that come with Apple launches.

The iPad is here!!! Now what’s it all about?

Here at last! Steve Jobs finally announced the new iPad (iSlate turns out to be just fan speculation) to a crowd of gathered journalists. Now that we’ve all gotten our jaws off the floor at what a gorgeous and sleek device the iPad truly is – let’s see what’s under the hood.

IPad seen here with dock and keyboad... isn't it lovely?

Only half an inch thick and weighing .9kg you won’t even feel the pad in your bag. These measurements were generally to be expected given Apple’s love of the slim and the need for portability which would outdo its rivals. The battery will last you about ten hours, which is a lot longer then most laptops and netbooks available on the market today.

The screen is somewhat smaller than most were expecting at only 9.7”, this however is still perfect for magazines, books, movies, music, writing and pretty much anything else you can think of! It uses LED display with IPS meaning that from whichever angle you see it at you get no fading and still get a good strong image.

The first of the TWO models, which has WiFi only is shipping in March, with the follow up second model will have both WiFi and 3G and will be shipping in America, anyway, in April.  The basic version will be just $499 which is about €350 and well below what anyone had previously expected. Rumours are rising about who on this side of the pond will be getting the 3G rights, AT&T, traditional American carrier of the iPhone is said to already have secured its deal, so if history is to be repeated then it looks like O2 might have it in the bag. The 3G version will probably be more expensive, but even then will still be affordable and give e-readers and other tablets, slates or pads a run for their money.

Speaking of e-readers, the iPad will come with a brand new native app; iBook. This app will, essentially be an e-reader  and bookshop all in one, and allow you to download books straight to the device without ever leaving iBook and read them on the large, crisp display. Exactly how this reading experience will compare to e-ink, which is designed  to mimic paper is hard to tell. Apple are probably aiming more for the magazine and newspaper market, and trying to pick up ebooks while they go.

iBook store will give Amazon a good fight, but will it win over book fans? Hard to tell, doesn't bowl me over too much...

Apple are also reporting that the full 140,000 of their apps, currently available in their app store will be ready to go for the iPad for when it comes out in the shops, by which time there will be a whole mountain of apps ready for the platform as developers speed up creating new apps specifically tailored for the larger screen and faster processor. This also goes a long way to securing and keeping Apple’s 99.4% market share of all applications, leaving Nokia and Google in the shade with little hope in the short term of gaining any major ground.

Also bundled In are all the apps we know and love from the iPhone, such as Contacts, Safari, Mail, Maps, etc.The layout of the interface is extremely similar to the iPhone/iPod screen, just with more space between apps also allowing for a background image, and allowing for the multiple home screens which you can swipe between for your various applications.

Some standard ideas still follow through from the iPhone with a multitouch screen, allowing for a more flowing navigation of your files and apps. The 30-pin connector located just under the standard ‘Home’ button are also some friendly and familiar faces, and fit in nice and seamlessly with the device and make it look more like an iPhone then just the screen of a MacBook taken off the keyboard.

Some new innovations come with the A4 chip which has been designed by the Apple team specifically for the iPad, which is supposed to make the device far more efficient than others.

The iPad also comes with a choice of storage sizes all flash based, 16, 32, and 64GB, which is similar to the iPhone storage and should be enough to hold anything you really want to carry around, given that the iPad isn’t really a netbook, but more than a phone the storage sizes aren’t hugely surprising.

Still no flash?

Some things missing, however are making small holes in the otherwise glowing facade of Apple’s latest product. Apple had an excuse for not having flash on the original iPhone, and maybe even on the 3G, but for the iPad? Certainly not – for such a media oriented device it is quite unusual for it not to carry support for one of the most used animation tools and what can often be the basics of many websites out there today. Many people expected support for the popular plug-in, and there is a minor sense of disappointment at it not being at the party. Two other things which were speculated were a webcam and USB port, although these were probably filed under the category of “they’d be handy” and mostly on a small number of fans wish lists, few really ever expected that either would make a real appearance.

Prices start low and go up depending on what you’re looking for, as you can see below;

16 GB  32 GB  64 GB

Wi-Fi                   $499   $599   $699

Wi-Fi + 3G           $629  $729   $829

Rumours have also been circulating over the magazines and newspapers which will be signing up for the new iPad. So far it has been suggested that the New York Times, Vogue and Wired are just some of the publications which are waiting to release their own apps or iPad formatted editions.

Over all it looks to be a brilliant device, and although there wasn’t a huge amount of surprises hidden away other then the name, the iPad has still managed to impress. Whether it will kill off the e-reader, it can’t be said until people actually begin reading on the iPad. It will also be interesting to see how Apple regulate their books.  Which we’ll also have to wait and see for, given the current debates on how ebook downloads should be regulated.

A desirable device, but the question at the end of the day is, do you really need one and if so, why would you need it?

But you WANT it!

Kindle comes with Apps, remember Snake anyone?

Amazon appear to be taking a page from Apple’s book for the Kindle with allowing for the creation of apps by opening the platform up to developers, and bringing out its new ‘Developer Kit’.

The popular e-reader will be taking advantage of it’s 3G technology and long battery life to allow for the development of various apps to be used alongside it’s native functions.

Trying to defend its market share by offering more? Kindle begins to ready itself for the iSlate

So far two companies are said to be creating apps for the Amazon device; Handmark who are working on a Zagat guide, and Sonic Boom who will develop various games and puzzles.

The developer kit will be launched in February in beta version and will come packed with sample codes, Kindle simulator and documentation which will all be able to run on Mac, PC and Linux computers where a developer can build and test their creations.

Although the name ‘app’ might make people think of the ever increasing and complicated apps of the iPhone/iPod, the Kindle’s apps will be slightly more watered down; being constrained by the black and white e-ink, and the reader’s hardware – this will probably make for relatively simple apps, however it is a beginning to a potential trend for amazon to make its reader a much more all-in-one device.

This news comes ahead of Apple’s expected iSlate/iPad announcement, which seems ever harder to escape comparisons to as the technology and retail worlds pays close attention to the company and ready their own products in the e-reader and tablet markets for a fight for market share.

This may be what Amazon is intending to do, by allowing for apps to be developed, they create a watered down version of what the iSlate is expected to be and may be able to hold out against Apple making deep inroads into the e-reader market, however by this point it might be too late.

Excitement over Apple’s show is at fever pitch, and few seem to be paying attention to much else. This is a welcome addition to an already solid product, the questions left are; will people take to it and is it too much for what is, in essence, supposed to be a book? What will the apps cost? And will it be enough to keep the Kindle going against Apple?

Apple might launch touchscreen iMac…

The possibility of an ‘iSlate’ today became a step closer with the rumour surfacing of Apple launching a touchscreen version of its popular iMac desktop range.

Touchy? No Touchy? Will the touchscreen iMac work?

It makes sense for Apple to begin introducing some touchscreen models to their computers. If they are indeed to launch a tablet, then the computer manufacturer needs to show a certain amount of confidence in touchscreen technology other than small portables like the iPhone, such as being able to put one of their flagship computer lines into the world of touch.

It appears that the touchscreen is here to stay, regardless, it seems to be the future with more and more companies producing touch enabled computers, phones, and media devices. However, Apple is making what was otherwise an unnoticed market suddenly the centre of attention, even stealing the show from Microsoft, who last week debuted a new line of ‘slate’ PC’s.

A question that quickly pops to mind is how long a user can sit at an iMac and comfortably use the touchscreen without getting a strain, and whether or not anyone would bother using the feature with a mouse and keyboard closer at hand.

With all the talk about Apple products so close to their next event, it seems like a good idea to take some of these rumours onboard, and hope we’re not disappointed.