Sportel Rio 2013 Panel Session: Second Screen Is An Expensive Challenge

March 12, 2013

By Jay Stuart

The use of digital devices at the same time as television viewing, bronchi the second screen phenomenon, really came of age during the London Olympic Games and Euro 2012 and broadcasters are wrestling with how to handle the disruption to their traditional business model.

During a panel session Second Screen: The Big Game at Sportel Rio on Monday experts agreed that the challenges are not easily met, while the stakes are growing.

Big brands are looking to digital and the spending is significant, said Stefan Wildemann, Manager Sales & Distribution, FIFA TV Division.

For FIFA, the right place to exploit rights should be with the broadcaster. “Digital is a companion product,” he said, while the FIFA World Cup will always be a TV product.

The big problem is that the second screen does not need rights to work for the provider of second screen content. Carlo de Marchis, Chief Product Officer, Deltatre, said: “The second screen is highly disruptive for broadcasters because somebody else can control the second screen experience.”

Federations can even do it themselves. He suggested that broadcasters need to look back at the first screen and how they can do more. With the advent of bigger screens and even multiple large screens in the same house, the possibilities open up.

Juan Delgado, Managing Director (Americas), Perform, said that the second screen is going to be active in the rights market but is unlikely to become a huge factor any time soon. Even YouTube, which is by far the biggest possible player in the space, is not about to stump up a billion dollars for NFL rights, for example.

He pointed out that game consoles are a very important part of the second screen picture along with smartphones and tablets.

Luis Olivalves, ESPN Brasil’s New Business Director, said “gameification” is important for the broadcaster, regardless of the device. “You need content to keep the viewers glued to the screen, especially in sports where there is time to look away.”

The biggest challenge for broadcasters is cost. “Making the second screen work is expensive,” he said. “The second screen look like an app but it’s not – it’s a channel. You need to manage it as a TV channel – and sell it as a TV channel.” He said the cost of managing the second screen is not so much the technology as the people. It cannot be a fully automated connection with the TV experience.

Complicating the picture is the fact that the second screen is not easy to monetize.

FIFA’s Wildemann predicted that personalization is going to become important for the second screen with individually targeted content and commercials.

The panel was moderated by Lou Ferrara, VP & Managing Editor of the Associated Press.