As the concept of the connected living room picks up pace, the move by US ad distribution platform DG, and its online division MediaMind, to launch a dual-screen video ad platform has been welcomed by media planners because it could deliver both cost and efficiency benefits.
The platform uses Civolution’s SyncNow fingerprinting technology to automatically recognise what is being played on the first screen and link it up to deliver relevant content on the second screen.
Tej Rekhi, MediaMind innovation strategist, said the move comes ahead of most people adopting smart TVs.
“Consumers change their smartphones every 12-24 months, whereas TVs are normally kept for between six to seven years, so the adoption of IPTVs is not going to be as quick as buying a smartphone, tablet or laptop,” he said. “Our proposition is that you can keep your linear TV and as long as you’ve got a companion device, you can still get that rich experience that allows you to play along with the TV commercial.”
Nick Adams, Mindshare head of digital development, said that it’s a logical step. He pointed out that there are a number of other players that might have more control in the convergence space, such as hardware manufacturers like LG and Samsung, which have both TV and mobile devices, along with set-top box manufacturers, such as Microsoft with Xbox, and the Nokia Windows phone.
“I wouldn’t want to say which of those will be the most popular route, but whichever provides the most scale will probably be the one that gets the most traction from media agencies, but at this stage it’s hard to say where that scale will come from,” said Adams.
John Baylon believes the benefits of dual-screening are “boundless” but said the play by DG and MediaMind is “a bit premature in the UK for now” because while a huge player in the US, DG is less so over here.
“As more video viewing becomes non-linear, the more likely these ad serving technologies will come into play,” he said. However, he agrees it’s now all about scale and also its limitations.
“The Holy Grail would be to deliver an ad on the broadcast platform and based on the fingerprinting, then serve a synced ad across all of the internet – not just confined to one broadcaster’s product alone – that would give you scale,” he said. “But there are still issues around the delivery.”
He believes the biggest benefit in the immediate future will be in cost and efficiency: “If there is one company that can distribute video content to broadcasters as well as online, that creates ease of distribution, which offers huge advantages both from a cost perspective and an efficiency point of view.”
Last year, O2 said it was eyeing further dual-screen campaign tie ups following its run on Channel 4’s The Million Pound Drop Live show (nma.co.uk 13 September 2011). The broadcaster has also used dual-screen activity to recruit contestants who play the online game to the live show (nma.co.uk 2 September 2011)
Civolution also executed broadcaster FX’s The Walking Dead mobile app, which tied up with the on screen programme.
“The logical extension with broadcasters is that they’ll start to sell sponsorships on the second screen experiences, building on the sponsorships they sell on the main screen,” said Adams. “You can quite easily see a future where all the big prime-time TV shows have a second-screen experience.”