Second screen apps – great, but who pays for them?#dvbw13

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The third day of DVB World brought some logistic problems for your blogger – sorry to be so late! I was Chair of the morning, and found it difficult to do the blog at the same time. Here’s a summary of some of the main points from the morning.

The first presentation was from Kevin Murray from Cisco. Kevin is wildly enthusiastic about the prospects for growing use of second screen. He explained the work being done by the DVB Project in preparing specifications, and showed examples of super second screen applications that work ‘hand in hand’ with a TV programme. They amounted to a quiz that the second screen user completes as he is watching the programme. A particularly impressive use also was for showing, on the second screen, subtitles, translations, and comments about the on-going programme. He used a 1945 British movie for the demo (“this is my favourite movie”). Where has he been?

The next presentation, by Ben Renneker from SNL Video, was at once very enthusuaitic about what can be done with second screen applications, and at the same time he was not enthusiastic about a business case. It’s easy to make great second screen apps for sports programmes with statitistics on the player, but these kinds of things do not in themselves earn income. This was Ben’s main message – which second screen apps are great, but a way has to be found to make them pay. He gave a hint that the way must lie by seeing them as augmenting the audience, and therefore of the programme.

The third presentation was from Myra Moore and Simon Frost of Ericsson. Simon is responsible for harvesting consumer views and trends in media across the countries where Ericsson operates. He explained that they find the ‘roller coaster’ of 3DTV is on a downward slope (boo), and the biggest interest area is the use of second screen devices (hooray). Another ‘hooray was that the public that Ericsson serves at leaves appreciates high technical quality, and is enthusiastic about HDTV. We can hope the enthusiasm carries over to UHDTV in future.

So, the morning was a combination of upbeat news that second screen will be important, but it remains to be seen whether the apps can be made ‘financially viable’.

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