Two Screen, or Not Two Screen

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2013 5:46pm by Dave Hill

Two Screen or Not Two Screen

Blogged by Dave Hill

Second Opinions:
We need a high tech solution and a high content solution. We need both.”
Yago Fandiño Lousa, TVE – CLAN

“The important thing is to use second screen in sympathy rather than a distraction, which is different with different genres.”
Catrin Siriol, S4C

“Great stuff happening, we’re just looking for the next big step.”
Mario Dubois, CBBC Indie Commissioning Executive

Second screen has been talked about for a while. And in spite of the many questions surrounding it, research shows that children frequently use several devises whilst watching TV with 65% of children under 12 have access to a smart phone.

So there’s certainly many reasons to explore but before you read on, please pay attention, no multitasking or second screeing (Is that a verb/ present participle? Perhaps it will be.)

1) This seminar raised and answered some of the many questions about Second Screen and in short the answer to; Two Screen or Not Two Screen is probably, yes! Let’s have a play and see what develops. Some of the questions raised within the session were; does it create fragmentic thought and should there be an age limit? Are we reducing the quality of content made to release funds from the budget towards it? Or if money comes from elsewhere then where? Should the government pay?
2) It’s important to make content that doesn’t alienate an audience member without a second screen. Boomerang and S4C created second screen games in 2011 to run alongside their Saturday morning game show. The procedure was to download the app or go online to play, whilst watching the gameshow. The fastest answer would win and the viewer could still enjoy it watching without feeling excluded.
3) We’re at the nursery slopes of something that is new. It’s an exciting time where anything can happen. People are trying to find reasons for why it’s not right. There is so much monitoring on whether it’s good for children. Rightly so, but we need freedom to explore and have fun.
4) True second screen is about creating a continued experience, not a separate thing. It’s about something that plays within the programs’ world and deepens the viewers watching experience.
5) We need to explore, play and imagine. Wizards vs Aliens App is an example of playing safe, (e.g. polls, quizzes and options to purchase merchandise). Why is it so tame? Currently Second Screen generally works with platforms that are already well established rather than suspending preconceived ideas and exploring limitless options.
6) Nintendo are on the other end of the creative spectrum, exploring all options with playfulness. Before answering “Two Screen or Not to Screen” we need to do some more exploring like Nintendo. Even the question itself suggests that there is fear in this area and that’s a problem. Keep the joy which is important to create imaginatively.
7) When it comes to Second Screen there’s not a lack of ideas. It’s knowing how to take the next step but if the creative community don’t do it, someone else will and content producers won’t have the input they desire.
8) One of the challenges for second screen producers is that broadcasters aren’t unified in the technology that they use, there is no standard format, so the landscape is always changing. Interestingly one example of how it works is through audio watermarking, which is similar to technology used by Shazam. The program signals to the iPad by sending out inaudible cues.
9) Some of the fears towards Second Screen is that it compounds all the fears that parents have with their children watching TV together with the fears of them playing with a tablet, especially with nursery school aged children. This speaks more of the parents anxiety, they feel that they can’t keep up with emails and don’t want their child feeling the same. But perhaps this is a misunderstanding, second screen can drive attention towards rather than distract from.
10) There was a very interesting piece shown by Marc Goodchild where children playing on an iPad did a ‘make’ whilst watching Mr Maker. They made what they saw Mr Maker make on the screen. Children were very engaged in the activity and enjoyed the ‘doing’ over the ‘watching’.

Second Screen is a direction in which we’re all heading and, in the words of Shigeru Miyamoto (head of Nintendo) “Will there come a time when customers don’t feel like they can do everything they want to without a second screen.”

• Julie Aberdein, CBeebies Interactive

• Sheila de Courcy, RTÉ
• Angharad Garlick, Boomerang
• Jennifer Wilson, The Project Factory
• Donnie Kerrigan, Chunk
• Marc Goodchild, IpDipSkyBlue

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Dave Hill, Writer and Content Developer – Freelance

About the author

Dave Hill

Freelance, Writer and Content Developer

Dave has worked on numerous projects across broadcast, education and publishing. Main contributions include: - Content developer and writer for 'Shusshh Listen,' 'Always Remember To...' 'Pablo and His Dogs,' CBeebies Radio & 'Together,' BBC Learning. - Production team for 'Let's Celebrate,' CBeebies & '15 Children and Counting,' Channel 4 -… Read more