5 Signs that the Second Screen Enhances TV for Viewers, Producers, and Advertisers

If the World Cup serves as any indication, it’s an immutable truth that the second screen has become a big part of our viewing experience. Does that suggest that viewers are tuning out or splitting mindshare between multiple devices? On the contrary, a slew of recent research from Nielsen suggests that the increased prevalence of the second screen is creating a virtuous cycle of added value to viewers, producers, and advertisers alike.

Here are five data points from the first half of 2014 that reinforces the impact of social media on our viewing behavior.


1. Viewers are more aware of television shows and tune in more.

A quarter of TV viewers report being more aware of programming and, as a result, they are watching more TV both on-demand and in real-time. Does your colleague’s play-by-play tweet game throw off your viewing game? Spoiler alert: most people say it doesn’t dissuade their viewing activity. In fact 15 percent of viewers enjoy television more when social media is involved, as it increasingly is. (Pro tip: Want to control your second screen experience? Use Twitter’s mute option to quiet your coworker until you have a chance to fire up the DVR.)


2. The Second Screen adds value – it’s not just a distraction.

What are viewers actually doing on their devices while watching TV? Many indulge in digital wanderlust by surfing the web but others are using their devices to get more out of the viewing experience.  They are looking up details about actors, or athletes, tuning in to the conversation on social, or buying products advertised during the program. For nearly 1/5 of viewers (17 percent), the TV is actually the second screen, with viewers tuning in as a result of social conversation.

Nielsen: Second Screen Improves Viewer Experience


3. TV producers get instant feedback from viewers.

In June of this year, Nielsen revealed TV’s biggest moments on Twitter. TV producers now have instant access to audience feedback that can be used to improve the consumer TV experience and drive continued viewership.

How instant is that feedback? Try 310,000 Tweets per minute, the record setting pace of Tweets sent using the hashtag #VoiceSave during an episode of NBC’s The Voice. Producers gave viewers the power to instantly influence the outcome of the show and viewers turned up in droves on Twitter to make their voice heard.


4. Social TV authors are more vocal about brands.

What does all of this mean for advertisers? Twitter users that Tweet about TV are more likely to Tweet about brands. In fact, they account for 78 percent of all Tweets about brands in a given month. This is one of the main reasons that Twitter’s Amplify program has been so successful for its media and brand partners.  By bringing the right brands together with the right content, brands are benefiting from the overlap in conversation with more valuable and relevant impressions. Getting in front of these Twitter TV authors, on both screens, is a powerful opportunity to connect with social brand ambassadors.


5.Twitter TV authors have more influence.

The story for advertisers gets better. People who Tweet about brands and TV programs have nearly twice as many followers as those who Tweet about brands alone. As a result, social TV authors are bigger mouthpieces for valuable word of mouth marketing.


 Is your brand tuned in to #SocialTV yet?  Connect with me on Twitter (I’m @joshrickel) to keep this conversation going or to talk about all things social TV. Be forewarned…next week is  #SharkWeek.


jrickel@spredfast.com's picture

Josh Rickel

Josh is Spredfast's Vice President of Media & Entertainment. He runs a team of individuals who empower media, entertainment, news, and sports organizations worldwide to involve their fans in real time, interactive social experiences across all digital touch points. He is a mass media glutton, technophile, and gear junkie.