Worldcup


Sportel Rio Panel: Second Screen Needs To Be Taken Seriously

Sportel Rio is all about networking and business deals on the show floor, but attention turned to the second-screen experience during a panel session on Monday.

Luis Olivalves, new business director, ESPN Brasil, provided the Brazilian perspective on the panel, part of the international sports convention taking place this week in Rio de Janeiro. He also highlighted just how important sports are as a driver of second-screen experiences.

“At the end of 2012, research showed that 85% of people use their tablet or smartphone while watching TV and 40% of them do it on a daily basis,” he pointed out. “But, when you only ask about live games, the daily number is 83%. They need to check in with friends; they need to shout and do something with their friends. Social networking is way more important for sports fans, and our second-screen concepts takes that very seriously.”

There is little doubt that the World Cup in 2014 will most likely drive that 83% number in Brazil to around 100%, given the nation’s passion for the sport.

Stefan Wildemann, manager, sales and distribution, FIFA TV Division, said that FIFA will offer a number of second-screen products for World Cup rightsholders to choose from, including white-label services or component solutions that involve a long list of offerings, such as multi-angle replays and enhanced statistics.

“We have many different applications so that the user can decide, rather than us dictating what the experience will be,” he added.

The second screen seems a great way for those with the broadcast rights to deliver a richer overall experience. But the challenge for broadcasters who hold the rights is that they are also competing with second-screen experiences offered by non-rightsholders. So, in many ways, there is more pressure than ever on rightsholders to ensure that viewers tune in to their second-screen experience.

Juan Delgado, managing director (Americas), Perform, hinted at the potential danger that second-screen applications could pose for the broadcast window: “They can draw viewers away from the TV so they are not paying attention to the commercials.”

Olivalves noted three keys to developing a second-screen philosophy. First, how do you use it to enhance the experience of watching the TV? Game information can keep viewers glued to the event. Second, when you have viewers using a single app, you can know their behavior. So pay attention to it. And last, don’t forget social usage via things like Twitter or Facebook.

“You want to have them deeply integrated into the same app, and it can be expensive because you need to manage the app as if it is a TV channel,” he explained. “You need people behind it working with content, and that cannot be a fully automated process. They have to make sure the content is relevant every minute of the game.”

Deltatre CTO Carlo De Marchis noted an opportunity for the broadcaster to reach viewers who have historically been unreachable: the fans in the stands at the event. And, when it comes to serving viewers at home, he added, there needs to be a way to bring the conversation to the big screen.

For example, 4K sets of the future may have enough real estate to deliver not only a high-quality video image but also social-networking opportunities.

And, for all of the focus on the second screen, it is always worth remembering the power of the first screen.

“When you have up to 80% of a country watching the same match on TV at the same time, it is difficult to argue that digital will replace TV viewing,” said Wildemann. “It’s a companion that allows fans to interact. But TV brings people together inside the living room.”