Second Screen Social TV Concept for Latin Billboard Awards

join the live show

Today I want to revisit a project I worked on several years ago - a "second screen" platform designed to deliver synchronized content to smartphones, tablets and laptops while watching television or live events. While this particular concept never made it to market, the process of developing it taught me valuable lessons about emerging technologies, user experiences, and embracing innovation.

The core idea was to create a companion mobile app that would display supplemental content timed perfectly with what was happening on the main TV screen. This "second screen" would enable things like polls, videos, photos, ads and social sharing - all synchronized to enhance the viewing experience.

We explored two different sync methods: audio watermarking and time-based triggers. Audio sync relied on recognition technology to detect the program and time-stamp, then trigger localized content. The time-based approach simply pushed content to all devices based on a universal schedule.

For a live event like the Latin Billboard Awards, our goal was to deliver these second screen updates within seconds of the corresponding TV moment using time-based sync. This allowed for coordinated content like behind-the-scenes videos during performances, real-time polls for audience voting, sponsor ads during commercial breaks, and more.

To illustrate the concept, we mocked up wireframes for the mobile app flow and compiled a demo video showing how the dual screens could interact.

second screen social tv homepage concept
Wireframe Walkthrough - Page 3

Full PDF Wireframe Walkthrough

Ultimately, while our second screen platform had potential, the project was shelved and our team moved on.

However, this experience reinforced some core lessons for me:

  • Innovating at the intersection of multiple devices and platforms is incredibly complex but allows for powerful new experiences when executed well.
  • Seamless synchronization across mediums is a high bar - even slight delays can disrupt the user’s connection.
  • As cool as supplemental content may be, the primary viewing experience needs to remain intuitive and distraction-free.
  • Big ideas often emerge before the technology is ready to properly enable them. Timing is everything.
  • While ours didn’t take off past the concept phase, I still believe there’s an opportunity to enhance how we view and engage with our favorite shows, movies, and live broadcasts. The rise of smart TVs, streaming, and multi-device experiences could allow that “second screen” concept to be revisited with modern solutions.

What does the future of interactive viewing hold? I'm excited to see how this evolving space takes shape in the coming years.

Disclaimer - project and platform is now shelved. All video footage is copyright of Billboard. The intention of this post is to share some of our findings and visions for a true second screen experience and event. Talented team behind this? Max, Romain, Shih Oon. Follow them!


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