Real time interaction: The second screen

Tim Elkington

Advertisers are increasingly using second screening and social media to encourage engagement with ad content, with a great recent example being Mercedes' TV campaign for the new A-Class, where Twitter users were able to determine the outcome of the ad's storyline. So if smartphones and tablets can be used to determine the outcome of TV advertising, then why not content?

Of course the Mercedes example didn't happen in real time, but was based on Twitter activity over a couple of days, allowing the advertiser plenty of time to select the outcome decided on by users. It's this real-time interaction that's currently the major barrier in terms of technology – although this is changing. The new HTC One smartphone, for example, includes the functionality of a remote control and TV companion apps, such as Zeebox, allowing people to interact with each other around TV content in real time, while show-specific apps, such as Million Pound Drop, mean that you can play along with live TV content at home.