The Multi-Screen Experience

First of all, here I am, and yes, New York welcomed me with open arms indeed. After spending the first night on a friend’s couch (thank you!), I got introduced to the beautiful neighborhood of Sunnyside and moved into an own apartment which I share with a very decent roommate. Did not somebody from Jersey City tell me “live anywhere but Queens”? It will take me some time to understand the dogmas when it comes to NYC boroughs. That is a separate issue.

Earlier this week, I attended an insightful event at the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway, organized by the Center for Communication: Social TV and the Multi-Screen Experience. Sabrina Caluori (VP, Social Media & Performance Marketing, HBO), Scott Rosenberg (Co-Founder and CEO, Umami), Galye Weiswasser (VP, Social Media, Discovery Communications), and Natan Edelsburg (VP, Sawhorse Media) discussed the trend of social media turning the traditional one-way model of watching television into an interactive experience. Everybody with an interest in media should consider taking a look at the latest trends and innovations, such as HBO Connect, Bravo TV’s Tweet Tracker or Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco To Go. Once again I had to realize how large the innovation and adaptation gaps between the American and European entertainment production and marketing sectors still are.

U.S. broadcasters are exploring completely new ways to get noticed by offering viewers opportunities to get more engaged with their favorite programming. Today’s wide use of smartphones and tablets enables content distributors to pursue a multi-screen strategy (TV being the first screen). A show’s fanbase is the foundation of the whole concept. Many Americans are very enthusiastic about their favorite shows and very willing to share their thoughts on what they watch. Of course, television has always had a social component, but the times when friends sat together in a living room in order to watch a TV show are pretty much passé for Generation Facebook. Today it is all about virtual buttons (share, comment, tweet etc.). And broadcasters are picking up the trend. The number of screens per person increases, stars begin to interact with fans, and online communication continues to grow. The approach certainly has a huge potential on the global entertainment markets, but I am not sure if I would ever be ready to get engaged with it from a personal user perspective. When I watch a show or a movie, I do not want to get distracted by Twitter feeds or some new ingenious second-screen platforms. This is the point when social media starts to downgrade the experience per se. But people use it and it works, thus it makes sense.

Anyway, after the panel and after some beers in a Midtown sports bar, the term in the title really hit me. Living in New York is more than just an experience of living in a big city. It is sort of a multi-screen experience all through. When I take the inbound 7-Train and close my eyes, I would find myself in a completely different sphere just a few minutes later. New York City is split up into five boroughs and into more than 50 different neighborhoods, while every neighborhood has a different feel and knows its own conventions. Any yet, it would seem that everything is well-matched and synchronized, just like the various platforms and technologies that are being utilized in the concept of Social TV. And everything makes sense at the end of the day. In the very first season of Mad Men, Bertram Cooper expressed this thought in the most sophisticated way I can imagine: “New York is a marvelous machine, filled with a mash of levers and gears and springs, like a fine watch, wound tight, always ticking.” Considering my citizenship, it would be weird if I didn’t like this allegory.

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5 thoughts on “The Multi-Screen Experience

  1. Pingback: Censorship, Surveillance, Threats: The Dark Side of the Blogosphere | matejtomic.com

  2. I couldn’t agree more, but there is still a lot of people who either resist Technology or just can’t get to grips with understanding it all. I can even find myself swamped with just too much!! Connecting, Check-in’s, Posting, ..it’s all around us if you let it, or want it?!

    I don’t know if you also know about “Tivo”, they are also getting connected to all sorts when recording your TV shows on their DVR.
    And on Blu-Ray Movies you have BD Connect?, not sure what that exactly is, but I think it’s something I would enjoy maybe, but finding the time for so much interactive things..
    I loved your Facebook Generation wording.. Only the other day I was talking with another friend about how in our day! we did not have Cell Phones..let alone FB, You tube, etc

    It is all so different for teenagers than when I was young. Teenagers have the added benefits of connecting with new friends, helplines,educational stuff etc, and the downsides of too many FB friends who are strangers,or using the platform for saying anything and everything, which I don’t know if it’s all good or bad?
    I think like anything in life…Take the useful good parts that work for you and leave the rest behind.

    • Sure, a lot of people do not get involved with social media at all and nobody can blame them for that. Everybody has to find the right balance between real life and the online world. There are thousands of great internet products out there, developed by very intelligent people, but you cannot use everything without getting married to your laptop, iPhone, and iPad in the same time. Such marriages usually end in a disaster.

      U.S. companies (media, IT, telecommunications) have the advantage of this HUGE and evolved sales market they can work with. If only a small fraction of the almost 314 million Americans start getting involved with Social TV, the critical mass might already be reached, et voilà: dollar dollar bills for the stakeholders.

      And I agree with your last point. The panelists mentioned this problem of OVERSHARING. Especially among the young people, there is definitely an oversharing mentality that can shut down everything when it comes to social media. But I guess that even the kids begin to understand the problem, and the trend is likely to swing back again.

      • I have observed since your post just how much we are on phones,connecting,etc
        And not surprisingly I seen many people with their phones in photo’s,in restaurants (including myself!), on the trains, never wanting to miss a beat on the Cyber Super Highway.

        I see the world changing faster and faster, with the usage of sharing, posting and following! Where does it all lead? Better ways to sell, advertise, and connect to people. It’s all still evolving, I can almost see us with fridges with Facebook soon!

        Over-sharing, and interesting word.. When do we realize we overstepped the sharing, how can you limit or have a limit?
        You are right, we need to find our balance in life with Tech, it can overrun your life too much if you let it. I guess the question is , is that really so bad?

      • Of course, it’s exactly what you mentioned. The industry is looking for better ways to connect to the consumers. But at the same time, people really enjoy getting involved in these new cyber environments that are being created continuously. Advertisers, agencies, media companies; everybody in the industry calls it a win-win-situation. Fridges with Facebook? Sounds silly, but I am certain that we will get there. A “social” fridge that registers every product you put in and enables the communications with your friend’s fridges. Then you could have like shared cooking experiences and automatic buying orders based on these experiences which in turn would shape your food preferences. Why not. People have to face up to innovations, or at least know about them.

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