Second Screen – Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 10:30am by Hayley Pepler

This was a session featuring the latest insights into what Second Screen actually means to children from the teams behind research agency The Pineapple Lounge, online platform Beamly (formerly Zeebox) and the developers behind Gory Games for CBBC.

Video and podcast available below.


  • For children, multiple screens are the norm.
  • Second screen apps should help children fall back in love with the TV, not distract them from it (Marc Goodchild)

Session Details

Emma Worrollo from The Pineapple Lounge opened with the provocation that children no longer understand what the term ‘Second’ Screen is. Kids are creating their own digital infrastructures, in which multiple screens are the norm.

That said, their research pointed to three types of second screen usage.

The first, Split Attention, is where there are two entirely unrelated activities (content-wise) going on simultaneously. With Synchronised Engagement – a secondary device is used to consume something related to what’s on TV: usually the website for a TV show. And finally with Focused Integration, the Second device is completely integrated with what’s happening on the big screen.

Simon Cobb from CBBC talked to us about the 2 playalong apps that CBBC have released this year: ‘Ludus’, and ‘Gory Games’. Ludus was the first app created for CBBC, featuring an intergalactic bad guy that kidnaps friends and takes them to space. Players then have to win their return tickets home. Gory Games is an integrated app that works alongside the TV show in real time. In it, challengers play against the clock with a series of multiple-choice questions.

Simon told us that CBBC wanted to make an experience that locked the screens at play together with these apps: and they achieved a measure of success when Gory Games actually peaked at a 15% conversion rate for viewers playing along.

Marc Goodchild then took to the floor to talk us through the production workflow for these integrated apps, with a live demonstrate of Gory Games in real time. He cited the biggest challenges of designing for simultaneous usage as battling with the shifting attention of users, and teaching players how to take part in the game. Audio cues and constant signposting to users as to what happens next, were two of the ways in which they answered these problems. Marc concluded by reminding us that any integrated app’s purpose has to be to help children fall back in love with the TV, not distract them from it.

Finally we heard from Andrea Nagel of Beamly (formerly Zeebox). She told us how their user research had triggered a shift in direction for them, since they discovered that their audience was younger and more female than they thought. The response to this has been the origination of Beamly as a social network for TV, with the emphasis is on people engaging whenever they want with this community focused platform to talk about any favourite shows. There had been some initial development into whether this could be adapted to the children’s market, but now the current focus was on the 13+ user demographic.

Following the presentations there were a few questions from the floor, including one about whether Second Screen technology really works for drama. The panel judged though it was possible, it hasn’t really been done successfully yet.

For the full impression of the session listen to the podcast and watch the Pineapple Lounge video illustrating kids’ second screen activity.

For full details of the speakers, check out the Session Guide here.

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Hayley Pepler

About the author

Hayley Pepler

Chatterbox Creations, Writer and Director

I’m usually occupied, either being a mum, writing, producing, singing or telling or listening to stories. I’m the Assistant Producer of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s live broadcasts to cinemas. Two weeks ago we broadcast Henry IV Part II to 380 cinemas across the world from Stratford Upon Avon. I also… Read more