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Sunday, September 28 • 14:56 - 15:15
"Understanding Second Screen Experience: the Use of Social Media and Mobile Devices while Watching Live Television"

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Background:  The use of so-called second screen devices such as smartphones and tablets to discuss live TV shows on social media is a growing trend and often referred to as Second Screen Experience (SSE). For example, the Nielsen lab found that 47% of tablet users in the US visit social media websites while watching TV (Nielsen, 2012). The Consumer Lab at Ericsson found a similar trend that 62% of viewers use social media while watching TV (Ericsson, 2012). The previous work in this area has primarily focused on studying recorded online interactions between social media users (e.g., Doughty, Rowland, & Lawson, 2011; Lochrie & Coulton, 2012). This study expands this line of research by observing how small groups of people watched a live episode of a popular TV show called Bones and how they interacted with others online and in the room during the show.

Objectives: The primary objective of this research is to study how people use second screen devices while watching a live TV show. In particular, we are interested in learning how and why people use social media to discuss a live TV show and how face-to-face interactions with other participants may influence online interactions and vice versa. The broad objective of this work is to see to what extent SSE might be contributing and sustaining the formation of online fan communities around a TV show. 

Methods: The study was conducted in a lab setting with two groups of three participants - who knew each other prior to the study - watching a live episode of a popular TV show called Bones. During the session, the participants were given iPads and were encouraged to use their personal Twitter accounts to post and read messages using the official hashtag of the show - #Bones. Screen capturing software recorded what the participants did on the iPads, and two video cameras in the lab captured how participants interacted with one another during the show. The table and video recordings were analysed using NVivo, a popular program for qualitative analysis.

Results:  The qualitative analysis revealed different patterns of user behaviour. Participants who did interact with others online, mostly communicated with Twitter users whom they already followed or who mentioned them on Twitter. The participants discussed the plot and key events of the show (e.g., who the killer is), scenes and particular objects in the show (e.g., a picture on the wall) as well as their room (lab) environment and activities (e.g., eating while watching). Asking questions about the show occurred only few times: three participants asked questions on Twitter, while one participant used Google to look for an answer. The video recordings showed the joy and contentment of the participants when they were mentioned by the official account for the show. One of the participants even posted a Twitter message (tweet) about this, while the other notified his friends in the room (but not online). Such behaviour would have been missed if we only examined tweets and not interaction in the room. Interestingly (but not surprising), the video recordings showed that the study participants generally did not focus on watching commercials; instead, they were either using their iPads or personal phones. This was also evident in the iPad recordings, as the participants reviewed new tweets and tweeted during the breaks. However, in general, proportionally the participants generated more tweets during the show than during the commercial breaks.

Conclusions: The empirical findings provided a better understanding of the SSE space that was not well explored before; that is the physical space (with other people in the room). An advantage gained from conducting a lab experiment is observing some interesting user behaviour that cannot be observed by studying their posted tweets; such as deleting and editing tweets or searching the web for answers instead of asking other Twitter users or friends in the room. For example, one of the participants used Google to find the correct spelling of a word mentioned in the show, then shared this information verbally with others. The evidence from this study also suggests that the participants generally do not pay attention to ads unless the content is relevant to their interests. An illustration of this action was clear when a participant who is interested in politics watched and discussed a political ad with others in the room. One important implication of this is that advertisers might find more effective to engage viewers through their “second” screens and not just through the first screen (TV).

Our future work will expand this exploratory study by conducting (1) a pre-study questionnaire to gather demographic information about participants and learn about their usual use of social media and mobile devices, and (2) post-study interviews with participants to uncover reasons behind some of their behaviour. We also will increase and diversify the study sample in terms of their demographic and psychographic characteristics.

Doughty, M., Rowland, D., & Lawson, S. (2011). Co-viewing Live TV with Digital Backchannel Streams. In Proceedings of the 9th International Interactive Conference on Interactive Television (pp. 141–144). New York, NY, USA: ACM. doi:10.1145/2000119.2000147

Ericsson. (2012, August 28). Ericsson study: TV viewing increasingly accompanied by use of social media. TV & video consumer trend report 2012. Retrieved from http://www.ericsson.com/news/1636526

Lochrie, M., & Coulton, P. (2012). Sharing the Viewing Experience through Second Screens. In Proceedings of the 10th European Conference on Interactive Tv and Video (pp. 199–202). New York, NY, USA: ACM. doi:10.1145/2325616.2325655

State of the media spring 2012 advertising & audiences part 2: By demographic. In (2012). The Nielsen Company. Retrieved from http://nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2012-Reports/nielsen-advertising-audiences-report-spring-2012.pdf

avatar for Anisa Awad

Anisa Awad

MBA Graduate, Dalhousie University
avatar for Anatoliy Gruzd

Anatoliy Gruzd

Associate Professor, Ryerson University
I am an Associate Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University (Canada) | Director of the Social Media Lab. I am also a co-editor of a new, multidisciplinary journal on Big Data and Societypublished by Sage. My research initiatives explore how the advent of social media and the growing availability of user-generated big data are changing the ways in which people communicate... Read More →

Lama Khoshaim

Interdisciplinary PhD candidate, Dalhousie University

Sunday September 28, 2014 14:56 - 15:15
TRS 1-149 Ted Rogers School of Management

Attendees (6)