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Making second screen work by Mark Christie, KIT digital W smartphone. These are attractive in their own way, but do nothing to help the broadcaster. ith little fuss, a major revolution has transformed the way that many – almost certainly the majority – consumers watch television. They now watch with a smartphone or a tablet in their hands. So the first step for the multi-channel broadcaster is to create your own remote control app. An obvious benefit of this is that it then carries your branding, and you can use some of the screen real estate to advertise other services or third- party products. This is a genuine demand: consumers love the second screen. The key is for broadcasters to embrace it as an opportunity, and to ensure that, wherever possible, the content on the second screen, and the portal for it, is under their control. The fact that it is a branded app does not preclude you providing links to other services, and in turn developing new tools from it. You could drive discovery by telling consumers what their Facebook friends are watching, for example. Put simply, if you can find a way to stop consumers drifting off into the wider web on the second screen, then you can keep them engaged with your content and your brand. A good, relevant second screen experience is good for audience retention and engagement, which ultimately is good for revenues. On the other hand, second screen apps are a new skill for broadcasters, not something they have had to create in the past. While leading content creators have put a lot of emphasis on ensuring that new programmes have at least a good website to accompany them, that is not the same as developing a coherent service. Then there are the third-party vendors who are creating apps to replace remote controls, so set-top boxes can be driven from the tablet or But more important is that you can then collect data from the user. The way that a consumer is making choices, on a second by second basis, is incredibly useful data. By collecting it you can use it to inform everything from which programmes to schedule to advertising placement and discovery engines. Direct revenue can be driven by additional and complementary advertising on the app. Consumers can also benefit from new functionality like our Ad Locker tool. This allows users to register during the transmission any commercials they find interesting. After the programme they can watch these spots at leisure, and click through to other information and special offers. The Ad Locker can also be loaded with other commercials selected on the basis of previous behaviours and demographics, making it ideal as a route for local advertising. The idea is to make watching advertising more fun by only delivering those commercials which are relevant and interesting to the individual. The experience should be more like a tailored, personal shopping experience rather than an imposition which gets in the way of the flow of the programme. This all sounds great, but how can a multi-channel broadcaster create such a service. At KIT digital, we have developed a standard platform for second screen and social programme guide apps, called 2Si. This is a white-label product, developed to be tailored in implementation to meet the look and feel of the broadcaster. Obviously a key strength of the service provider owning the second screen app is that it can provide up to the minute information, including a richer EPG than a standard set-top box can provide. It makes the user interface more intuitive, because it works like familiar apps through gestures and visual cues rather than nested menus. That also makes it a strong way to drive video on demand services, by offering clips and recommendations, another good way of building audience loyalty. Added to the multiple commercial opportunities, it makes a great deal of sense to own the second screen. 72 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 78 JUNE 2013 TV-BAY078JUN13.indd 72 10/06/2013 15:16