Yahoo's IntoNow Partners With ABC; So Where is the Second Screen Headed?

Yahoo's IntoNow Partners With ABC; So Where is the Second Screen Headed?

Yahoo, Shazam and Viggle all made major announcements this week. So what's next for this emerging space?

From Yahoo to Shazam to Viggle, it was another big week for second screen applications, those programs you use on a mobile device or tablet while watching TV.

Yahoo unveiled a major partnership with ABC on Thursday, making “Revenge” the first prime time drama to offer a major promotion using Yahoo’s IntoNow mobile application.

For the last two episodes of ABC’s hit Wednesday night show, viewers who use the app on their smart phone or tablet can enter a sweepstakes to win a week-long getaway to a mansion in the Hampton around the July 4 holiday.

Those users can also use IntoNow’s other features – talking about the shows on Facebook and Twitter, answering trivia questions and accessing videos and other information related to the show.

Across the pond, Shazam will debut its first Shazam-enabled advertisements in the United Kingdom on Sunday for the finale of “Britain’s Got Talent.” When viewers use Shazam on Cadbury’s new advertisement, they get a chance to win a London 2012 Olympic Ceremony package.

And then there’s Viggle, an app that rewards its users with various prizes and announced earlier this week it now has 625,000 users.

So with the continued popularity of the second screen, TheWrap talked with one of its originators, IntoNow founder Adam Cahan.

TheWrap: So what does this latest announcement mean about the growth of IntoNow under the Yahoo umbrella?

Cahan: Broadly speaking, the story begins with shift in consumer behavior. We’ve seen an acceleration of devices in the living room. We’re now seeing up to 70-80 percent of people using some form of other device in their living room and those forms of connection leading to a new set of behaviors. It didn’t really exist at scale or in a mass way before. For us, what that has enabled is that we’re becoming a pretty viable platform for partners to work with now.

For this example, the big thing for ABC’s “Revenge” is: how do you re-engage with audiences on the second screen?

Also Read: As Social Media Hits Television, 2012 Is the Year of Must-Tweet TV (Updated)

In terms of re-engaging viewers who are on another device, do you think television networks are losing viewers during the show or just losing viewers’ attention?

TV watching is growing. We’re already at 5 hours a day — it’s the largest leisure time activity — and it’s growing at one percent. That’s kind of wild. We see that because people are multi-tasking; TV is providing context for what the audience is doing.

Is IntoNow competing for attention? Done correctly we’re providing a tool to re-engage. We’re getting people who are enthusiastic fans of the show and giving them a forum to connect. We’re giving people a reason to be there live.

How important is this Lexus sponsorship? We’ve seen second screen apps start to find an audience, but the key is obviously to monetize it. Have you reached a critical mass when you can start to do that more effectively?

For us it marks the tipping point. In this example we have a brand, Lexus, that is basically underwriting this event and providing a meaningful opportunity — July 4th weekend in the Hamptons in a 10,000 square foot house.

TV tends to be a brand medium; you’re telling a 30-second story about your brand. This is about transferring that to a new device and engaging the audience in a new way. It’s about amplifying and extending.

So do you think people are on Twitter and Facebook or your app while watching shows, or are they using them before and after the shows air?

TV should be thought of as series of genres and verticals. Behavior around sports is different from behavior around scripted drama. Sports, live events and any reality programming — the vast majority of activity is taking place inside the application.

Part of it is the cadence of show. People want to talk and engage about what you saw.

With scripted drama or scripted comedy you’re more engrossed in the show and you tend to find that people show up and want to communicate, but they will only re-engage after.

If last year saw tons of second screen companies emerge, and this year saw them gain an audience, what’s next?

One, there is some likely consolidation that will occur. Not all of the people who started out will finish the race. It really is a game of scale. At a certain point, you’re either a viable platform for advertisers and partners or an interesting thing that doesn’t help drive business.

Two, folks like us…what we did from a tech perspective raised the bar. We continue to push that. Now that we know what they’re watching, can we give them relevant information? The product evolution from that will become much more interesting. We’ll be coming out in June with something we think is leap forward. We’re starting to understand what consumers want to do and there will probably be two or three of us really competing — not 20.

So I’ll ask you two questions, at least one of which you won’t answer. What’s coming in June and who are those two or three?

I don’t want to tip my hat yet, but we’re starting to see evolution and distinction in these products. There are those of us going after consumer content and the social experience, those of us going after an advertising experience and enabling ads and those of us offerings loyalty programs and rewards.

So the first is IntoNow, GetGlue, Miso … the second Shazam and the third Viggle.

I’d have to correct you. I’d put GetGlue in the latter since a big part of it is rewarding users with stickers.

You expressed skepticism about both the rewards and the ad-enabled, why is that?

Enabled ads will be part of our ecosystem, but our desire is to create a habitual behavior, a go-to experience. When you watch TV, you fire this up. You can’t tag most things on TV with Shazam. You can’t take any program and press a button. Their outcome is a different outcome. It’s not a habitual go-to where you must have it while watching TV.