Super Bowl XLVI ushers in mobile-viewing era in sports

Krystal Peak · February 3, 2012 · Short URL:

SecondScreen companies want you to be on your mobile devices when watching Super Bowl ads

Just as the Nixon-Kennedy debates ushered in the marriage between TV and politics, there is a dash to bring mobile interaction into TV commercials -- especailly during watercooler events.

Now advertisers and broadcasters are scrambling to change just how the Super Bowl is watched and interacted with.

Despite a Giants-Patriots re-match, Super Bowl 2012 is striving to be a record-breaking, innovative event that can't be missed. 

With one billion people expected to tune in for the 46th Super Bowl, more eyes will be on the game, the commercials and the technology being folded in all over the place.

With most cable channels offering much of their content online, in some capacity, it is hard to believe that the NFL will finally be offering online viewers their first opportunity to live stream the biggest night in football.

Verizon cut a deal with the NFL to exclusively stream the Super Bowl on iOS and Android devices if you download the NFL mobile app. While many are saying this might be the least needed game to stream, since a big part of the event is being in a group of fans and screaming at a big screen, but there is still reason to be excited. The Super Bowl streaming will offer pausing, highlights, rewinding and alternate camera angles. 

And for those that consider that game a secondary element to the Super Bowl ads, YouTube and Hulu are going to be queueing up the advertisements in real time so that you can replay any ads you missed when you were fighting over the last chicken wing.

Second Screen

But if streaming football and real-time advertisement replays aren't enough Internet incorporation for you, there is a whole new world of second screen interactions that is really heating up around the Super Bowl.

If you aren't familiar with the second screen market, this is like a social forum where people all watching the same thing on TV can chat and share about what they are seeing. I think of it as the more tech-savvy version of holding the phone to my head as my friend and I watched the X-Files from our respective homes. 

As more people have been watching television with a mobile device in their hands, advertisers and programers have been looking for ways to keep their viewers engaged, and second screen has been doing a lot of that for them.

I got a chance to chat with David Markowitz, the vice president of the SecondScreen Networks about what the Super Bowl is going to look like on the second screen world.

Markowitz explained that what his company does is provide an ad platform that synchronizes with spots running on TV. 

"If you use an app from Fox or CBS or ABC -- during a commercial break there might be an ad from Subway," Markowitz explained. " And we make sure there is some type of complimentary brand message on the app that people can engage with."

So if you are watching the Super Bowl and are on a television application at the same time, the SecondScreen technology will detect what commercials are running at that time and might offer you a coupon or a link to the company Web site or some other way to get your engagement.

SecondScreen Networks has worked with Ford, Toyota on the USA network and with some campaigns, they found a 23% engagement rate -- that is an exceptional capture rate. 

"This year we decided to work with these big water cooler events like Oscars, SuperBowl," Markowitz told me. "This Super Bowl, if you are using PrePlay Sports app or TapCast, then these companies will give you some actionable message as their ad runs."

With companies dropping serious dough for 30 second or one minute spots, brands are looking for ways to localize national campaigns and increase the chances people will translate to action.

While many of the clients that SecondScreen is working with are secretive because of the Super Bowl hype, GoDaddy is one company that is using SecondScreen marketing for the game night.

Other second screen companies such as Miso are working on ways to reach the Super Bowl viewers wherever their eyes go. Miso is working with Hyundai to create a more interactive commercial experience and offer up games, videos polls, music and more content during the big game.

"The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events in live television and clearly becoming more social each year," Somrat Niyogi, Miso co-founder and CEO told me. "We're excited to be working with Hyundai to enhance the Super Bowl experience through real time, interactive content on the second screen with a Miso SideShow." 

A recent nationwide poll showed that 60% of mobile users plan to look at or use their mobile device during this year’s Super Bowl. The study, conducted by Velti and Harris Interactive, even expressed that 83% of viewers who are planning on using their mobile device expect to use it as much or more than they did during last year’s Super Bowl. 

And gender certainly plays a role as to when people will look at their smartphones or tablets since, during the halftime show, men are twice as likely as women (26% vs. 13%) to turn their attention to mobile devices.

“This survey is indicative of how integrated the mobile device has become during the biggest television event of the year in the U.S.,” said Krishna Subramanian, Chief Marketing Officer of Velti, in a statement. “Viewers are sitting in front of the television with a mobile device in their hand and they’ll likely check that ‘second’ screen often. There’s no going back now from the fact that the Super Bowl is truly a two-screen experience. Mobile is the second screen that completes the full circle of user engagement – turning advertising into content.”

Between watching alternative angle on your tablet, securing coupons on mobile applications and replaying hilarious advertisements on video content Web site, I am not sure that people will even be able to tell me what the score is -- but I have Twitter for that.



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