• The use of smartphones and tablets while watching TV has become a firmly established and growing habit for a majority of mobile consumers, and much of this usage is second screen activity related to what's on TV.
  • Show-themed and second screen apps that ask audiences to open an app during shows and sync to TV in order to deliver content tie-ins will not be the big winners — they're asking too much of audiences.
  • Second screen will be about encouraging activity that's more natural, like commenting about a show on social media.
  • Twitter has managed to emerge as the second screen era's killer app. Its impact on TV ratings may be overstated, though.
  • Second screen apps are proliferating. However, most will not survive as stand-alone apps, as consolidation begins.

Related coverage:
Social TV: How Social Media Is Amplifying TV Advertising, June 2013
The Second Screen Is Now Ready For Prime Time, February 2013

Executive Summary

BII_2ndScreenActivitiesBIIThe second screen is no longer a novelty. In the first quarter of 2013, roughly 50% of U.S. smartphone owners and 40% of tablet owners said they used their devices while watching TV on a daily basis.

Some are probably just checking email and multitasking, but many are using their devices to complement their TV-watching, often on social media. Forty-seven percent of smartphone and tablet owners used their devices to engage in TV-related activities, according to NPD.

While scores of social TV and second screen apps have emerged, Twitter has broken ahead of the pack as a category leader, thanks to a savvy series of product rollouts and acquisitions — including the August 2013 purchase of Trendrr, a BII_Charts_Nielsen_EverydayBIIsocial TV analytics service. Twitter has managed to make itself indispensable to both TV advertisers and [...]