SecondScreen CEO On Advertising To An Audience Of Two Screen Viewers

"With the penetration of smart phones and tablets, users watching TV while holding a second screen has become nearly ubiquitous." SecondScreen Networks CEO Seth Tapper discusses how his company is approaching advertising on these "second screens."

These days more and more television viewers are watching their favorite shows with a second screen on board, adding to their experience.  They may be checking in to whatever show they’re watching on GetGlue,, Miso or other Social TV apps, chatting with friends, following a live blog, or glued to their iPads during commercial breaks.

SecondScreen Networks is on a mission to get these viewers more engaged with advertising by matching the ads that are running on TV with complimentary ads for the same products on the viewers’ “second screens.”  I had the opportunity to find out more about how SecondScreen works from the company’s CEO and Founder, Seth Tapper.  Read on to find out what he had to say.

I asked Seth about where the inspiration for SecondScreen came from and how the idea became a reality.  He told me, “With the penetration of smart phones and tablets, users watching TV while holding a second screen has become nearly ubiquitous.  A huge effort is underway both by startups and traditional media companies to serve these multi-taskers with information and social experiences relevant to what they’re watching on TV.  We founded SecondScreen Networks last year to serve the advertising needs of the growing second screen and TV companion ecosystem.  By syncing spots on TV to digital ads on these devices, we provide contextual and relevant ads to users, a powerful feedback loop for TV advertisers and a way to earn revenue for second screen publishers.”

Some examples of how SecondScreen Networks ads work are provided on the company website.  They say, “For example, a user watching American Idol and participating in a live blog of the show on her iPad, might see a Pizza Hut ad on TV and simultaneously view an interactive digital ad with a menu and ‘order now’ button on her device.”  Pretty cool, eh?  Speaking of American Idol, SecondScreen ran a pilot test of their technology with, synching ads on the site in real-time with some ads that ran during the television broadcast of the show’s finale.

SecondScreen has got its perks for both advertisers and second screen publishers.  Seth explains, “Advertisers get a perfect opportunity to reach the TV audience they’re targeting, whose attention is likely on their personal device during the commercial break.  For publishers, the process is simple.  All they have to do is deploy a few lines of our code on their app or website and we take care of the rest.  We use our technology to monitor TV networks, automatically recognize when a certain TV spot is airing, and automatically serve a matching ad.  The publisher gains as we’re creating completely new inventory on their app or site.”

Seth told me a little bit about how he sees the future of the social TV landscape.  “There are already lots of apps and sites from show producers, TV networks and independent developers for various shows and sporting events.  We expect that, in the near term, every show will have its own ‘official’ companion app as well as a number of other independent ones.  And that’s not including the more horizontal social TV apps that will be used across shows.  It’s being shown that viewers want to engage with others while they’re watching TV; no one wants to simply sit back and wait to discuss the latest on Glee, Real Housewives or whatever the next day.”

For this reason, SecondScreen is working with a large number of second screen apps, entertainment check-in apps, social TV guides and more, as well as a number of the major broadcast networks to help with them monetize their audiences via the second screen.  Seth says, “Our goal is to be the DoubleClick of the social TV universe.”  What’s your take on second screen advertising and what do you think of what Seth Tapper had to say?  Let us know in the comments below!

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.

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