Harnessing the power of the second screen

A recent report by Google found that three-quarters of Brits use another screen whilst watching television. With the rise of second screening showing no signs of slowing, an audience’s experience of watching television is based on more than just the TV set in front of them. Viewing is increasingly interactive and the presence of a second screen offers new ways to engage audiences, beyond simply presenting them with a programme to watch.

With some of this year’s most anticipated shows seemingly inescapable online, we thought it was a great time to take a look at how the second screen is being used innovatively to deepen engagement and generate anticipation.

Game of Thrones

June 21st may have marked the first day of summer and the hottest day the UK has seen in 41 years, but HBO has certainly demonstrated that #WinterIsHere. On the summer solstice, and ahead of the highly anticipated seventh series, HBO unveiled the second trailer for the upcoming series, and hid Game of Thrones Easter eggs across the web.

Reddit’s mascot Snoo had been amusingly redesigned as John Snoo, and, on Twitter, fans were able to unlock 12 new character posters by tweeting #WinterIsHere along with various emojis to the official Game of Thrones account. The hashtag alone also activated a ‘Night King hashflag’ emoji.

Meanwhile, the account itself uploaded clips of the greatest ‘winter moments’, successfully reinstating the excitement of previous series’ to generate anticipation for the next instalment.

House of Cards

House of Cards has developed a unique social strategy, using the political relevance of the show to comment on America’s real life political climate.

The official Twitter account has long been tweeting clips of main character and President, Frank Underwood, in order to subtly (or not-so-subtly, in some cases!) comment on American politics – most notably, you guessed it, real life President, Donald Trump. More recently, however, the show has broadened its horizons to our very own, Theresa May.

When the Prime Minister failed to appear at the political debate last month, House of Cards tweeted her directly with a GIF of Frank Underwood and the comment ‘they respect you more when you show strength. Or show up.’ The tweet hit 20k retweets and sparked 500 comments in response.

13 Reasons Why

Engagement on the second screen isn’t always driven by the programme itself. With memes and viral videos continuing to spread like wild fire, let’s not forget the power viewers hold in generating their own buzz on social media.

Netflix’s most tweeted about series of 2017 so far, 13 Reasons Why, recently inspired a new meme where fans use a key phrase from the show to – somewhat controversially – complain about situations that they find annoying.

The meme was even appropriated by Netflix itself, who used it as an in-joke to mock competitor Hulu. Netflix replied to a tweet by its rival promoting programmes ‘not on Netflix’ with the comment ‘Welcome to your tape.’.

Bonus content

Finally, for those who have so far escaped the grasp of the Love Island craze – these fan made memes will help get you up to speed!

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If you would like to discuss any of the topics outlined above, or tell us about your favourite TV shows, do not hesitate to get in touch.
Picture:HBO

About Laura Daniells

Laura joined MTM as a Research Intern in late April and works for both the quantitative and qualitative teams. She finished her degree in Psychology last year, completing a dissertation on the relationship between personality characteristics and consumer behaviour.