Academic journal article International Public Health Journal

Reflections of Two-Screen Users: How People Use Information Technology While Watching Sports

Academic journal article International Public Health Journal

Reflections of Two-Screen Users: How People Use Information Technology While Watching Sports

Article excerpt

Introduction

Sport fans frequently use more than one platform of information technology when they are watching sports (1). It is estimated that as many as 85% of people use another device while watching television (2). The spread of technology, combined with a reduction in its size, has made it possible for people to use technology while engaging in other activities. For example, the size of smart phones and tablets have made it easier for people to be online, while at a sporting event or watching one on television. People who use information technology while consuming other forms of entertainment are often referred to as two-screen users (3). They can also be said to be engaging in the second-screen experience (4). The use of multiple digital devices at once is an area within multitasking research that has seen a recent rise in interest. This interest is primarily rooted in the belief that the rapid spread of digital devices has created an information technology environment for today's young people, which is drastically different from previous generations (5). The second-screen experience can manifest in a number of different ways. Apps for smart phones and tablets can use audio from a television to sync with a television program. These apps then offer content related to the television program one is watching (4). The popular ABC show Grey's Anatomy offers an app that provides show watchers with an interactive experience while watching the show. As a viewer watches the show, content related to the show and its subject matter are displayed on the app (6). Popular apps such as GetGlue, IntoNow, and Viggle offer similar experiences for people. These apps also offer rewards for "checking-into" a show via the audio recognition software included on most smart phones (4). More importantly, two-screen users represent another way for broadcaster partners to generate revenue. Forbes estimated that CBS's online streaming of Super Bowl XLVII to second-screen users could generate between $10 and $12 million in extra revenue for the network. This online steam of the game contained extra features not available during the network broadcast of the 2013 Ravens versus 49ers Super Bowl. These features included additional camera angles and a user-designed Twitter feed that could appear along with the game broadcast (7).

The two-screen experience also presents itself in the use of social media during sporting events. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook help to facilitate conversations among fans as they watch a live sporting event (8). Social networks also allow this conversation to be unconstrained by geography and encompass many different voices. The broadcasts of many live sporting events incorporate various elements of social media. These include such things as designating a Twitter hashtag for the event and informing viewers that they can visit the network's official Facebook page for more information about the event (1).

Nielsen, the firm that records and reports on television ratings, reported that in the second quarter of 2013, people tweeted about television 263 million times. This was a rise of 38% from one year before (9). People are tweeting about their television entertainment as they consume it and doing so in ever increasing numbers. For example, the series-finale of the popular show Breaking Bad generated 1.24 million tweets from 601,000 Twitter users during the show's airing. Nielsen estimates that these tweets reached an audience of 9.3 million people (9). The year 2013 marked the first year for which Nielsen tracked the social traffic and social rank of television broadcasts. Of importance for this research is that Nielsen's 2013: Year in Sports Media Report (10) reported that almost half of all tweets which were about television last year, referenced sports-49.7% to be exact. This is despite that the fact that sports accounts for only about 1.2% of all television programming. Nielsen also reported that in September 2013, 61. …

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