The Official Oscars App

SXSW 2014 Re-Cap: Second Screens


This is my re-cap of the How to Monetize the 2nd Screen Evolution panel from SXSW 2014. Check out the overview of all my SXSW 2014 re-caps here.



Gregory Consiglio, President & COO, Viggle Inc. 

Jesse Redniss, CSO, Mass Relevance Inc.



The most favorite second screen apps remain Twitter and Facebook. Show- and network-specific ones still struggle. Twitter and FB remain so popular because they allow social consumption – fans of a show want to share their thoughts and reactions with others, especially if they don’t have friends or family in the same physical space who share their interest in a particular show. “The funny shit was happening on Twitter, not at the Oscars.” was mentioned at one point, and it’s a very apt summary of second screen usage.


Needless to say, a second screen app has to complement the viewing experience. In what way depends on the show and the fans – sometimes behind-the-scenes content might be the right thing, other times additional story content or games bring value to the fans. There is no one-fits-all formula.


And that is the key point: Advertisers have been keen to push ads on to second screens ever since they first realized that viewers were watching two screens simultaneously. Understandable, of course, but paired with very classic approaches to marketing, it meant that many, many second screen apps were bursting with simple advertisements. The additional content was taking a backseat – and with it, the value the fans derived from the app. If you bore or annoy your fans, they’ll be gone – with just one swipe or click.


The Official Oscars App
The Official Oscars App


A great example of catering to fan interest AND branding is the Official Oscars App. As one of the most televised events in the world and involving a string of A-list celebrities, a huge part of the audience watches the Academy Awards live – starting with the Red Carpet, and then through the show itself. Social media are buzzing – everyone’s got something to say about the dresses, the hairstyles, the presenters, the nominees, just/unjust awards… and so on. And everyone would love to be there, too. Well, with the Official Oscars App they can be – albeit virtually. The app lets you switch between cameras of show areas not covered by TV cameras (all the time), and you can even follow specific celebrities around. A bit creepy, I’ll admit, but it also caters to the ultimate voyeuristic tendencies of our society when it comes to celebs – the very reason why the Oscars hold such widespread attention in the first place. Everything in the app is branded, of course, but the value to the fans is what is in focus.


Finally, ways to monetize second screen apps AND to provide value to the consumers are:


Ads within the content, but only if they’re entertaining

Branded additional content – fun and entertaining

e-commerce links – buy the dress XY is wearing, etc.

Inner-network promotion of shows/cross-promotion, if it is targeted


Ideally, second screen apps should always be targeted in terms of advertisement AND content to the individual user for an optimization of value for both sides in every way. This can easily be done via FB logins, for example.


Tomorrow I will upload the next re-cap on Building Interactive Storyworlds.

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