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Dual-Screen Viewing Transforms the Presidential Debates

Dual-Screen Viewing Transforms the Presidential Debates

Last week, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released survey results showing how more than one-in-ten viewers of the presidential debate actually "dual screened" the experience by accessing related content on mobile devices while tuning into the live broadcast. This dual-screen behavior was most prevalent amongst younger viewers, with more than 20 percent under the age of 40 following coverage online and sharing reactions via social networks while watching the debate on TV.

These findings are no surprise given the mounting research which suggests that dual-screen viewing is fundamentally transforming how we interact with digital content in our daily lives. Google, for example, recently reported that we use on average three different screen combinations everyday, including tablets and smartphones while watching TV. In fact, research from Yahoo! and Razorfish shows that nearly 80 percent of consumers are on mobile devices while watching TV.

It's no wonder this year's presidential campaigns are placing greater emphasis on mobile platforms as a way to engage with voters, recruit volunteers, and raise money.

To help organizations take advantage of this trend, Brightcove recently introduced an App Cloud dual-screen solution which enables media publishers to develop rich content apps for iPhone and iPad that simultaneously control HDTV video. Major media companies, like Discovery Networks International, are already taking advantage this new App Cloud solution to build rich dual-screen experiences for their broadcast properties.

But, beyond companion behavior for television viewing, we believe dual-screen apps present an even larger opportunity, which is just beginning to come into focus. The television, like the many other screens we encounter in our daily lives (at the office, in school, while shopping, etc.) will increasingly become second screens for mobile devices and applications that extend content experiences across multiple surfaces. In a recent Mashable article, Brightcove CEO Jeremy Allaire describes the enormous potential of dual-screen apps and many use cases likely to emerge from this fast-growing trend in consumer behavior.

Presidential debates and companion apps for TV are just the tip of the iceberg.