In order to produce an experience that a user will want to engage with whilst watching their favourite TV programme, an application or website needs to augment the experience of watching, not compromise it. This is also true of mobile applications as a whole; they need to extend and improve the real world that already exists around us.
We know that the 2 screen experience need to be social. As with everything, social is a key feature for driving engagement. This is even more important in relation to TV, as we want to know what others are watching and saying about a particular programme.
Arguably we need to build 2 screen content that has the consumer at heart. Yes, brands want to and should get involved, but we shouldn't be doing it for the sake of doing it. As with all digital innovations, if we don’t consider the reason we’re giving it a try, it’s likely to fail or have little impact. Brands that want to introduce a 2 screen experience should think about how it fits into a wider campaign strategy - a TV ad may be at the centre of this idea, but the entire journey should be considered.
A recent and very big step in the world of 2 screen content is Zeebox, which launched at the end of October. This mobile and tablet application brings the internet to every second of TV we watch, making the whole experience both social and informative. It also makes it much easier for brands to get involved.
Zeebox allows you to connect with your friends via Facebook or Twitter so that you can see what each other are watching and interact via the platform; it’s a bit like you are all sat on the couch together chatting...but digitally! You can also view live Twitter feeds of all the chatter surrounding the show.
However, Zeebox’s big selling point is the idea that their application isn’t just about social. It’s an information hub for every single programme that exists on the television. Zeetags that appear within each programme page allow you to read information on the actors/actresses, see information about the soundtrack and view related links. Not only this but iTunes offers up related purchases and wikipedia related page content.
If an advert plays on the television a Zeetag can link you through to their website or even product page for immediate purchase. This means you will never have to leave the Zeebox application to search sites such as IMDB, Twitter, Wikipedia, Amazon or Shazam.
Oh, and one last thing. If you have one of those fancy new TV's, Zeebox can also act as a remote control!
Zeebox will make money through advertising space within the platform and affiliate partnerships for selling such as iTunes and Amazon. It could also be possible for broadcasters to partner with Zeebox to offer additional content to viewers such as in-programme voting or additional video and news content. Finally, we shouldn’t forget the wealth of data that will be opened up to broadcasters on the users of the application, as well as additional chatter and engagement around their shows!
It does feel like this could potentially be the point of saturation. TV is a simple, passive medium. The reason 2 screen applications like Million Pound Drop work so well is because they are so simple and require a user to extend their viewing behaviour only very slightly into the app. Zeebox encourages constant participation from the user throughout your entire TV watching experience. It could be that this is just too much information to be consumed whilst watching something like Frozen Planet.
Others would argue that this service actually reduces friction as you only need to be in one application to get everything you need; Zeebox does ultimately augment rather than compromise. It is a useful service and one that is bound to grow in users over the coming months and into 2012.
Have you used Zeebox yet? Are you a 2 screener? Let us know your thoughts!