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The Canadian Media Fund and Evolumedia have just co-published a report on the growing prevalence of the second screen, a phenomenon highlighted by our last blog post. While the report can be viewed in full here, we’ve gone through it and written a summary on the most interesting points.

Besides dedicated companion apps such as TradeSports, the report also goes into detail on more general second screen activities while watching TV, such as web browsing.

Overview & Activity

  • “Generation Always-On” (those born between 1982 and 1995) spend 50 hours per week with digital media
  • 58% of American smartphone owners use their phone to occupy themselves while watching TV
  • 35% use their phone to visit a web site mentioned on TV
  • Social TV is the the use of social networks to discuss shows, during or after the broadcast
  • Twitter is by and large where people go to discuss TV via social media: 85% of all social comments about shows on American general-interest channels are tweeted


  • Media multitasking is most prevalent in the 18-24 year old age range, at 81%
  • The likelihood of simultaneous media consumption goes up in relation to income and education
  • Based on available data, the average American second screen user is a young, educated man or woman with an average yearly income of over $50,000. They own a laptop and smartphone, and are increasingly likely to own a tablet as well
  • By the end of 2012, 21% of Canadian Anglophones will own a digital tablet, compared to 10% of French-Canadians


  • One of of every three American viewers aged 18 and up will be engaged on their second screen after being shown a social media symbol on TV such as a Facebook “Like” symbol or the Twitter logo and a hashtag
  • Outside of Facebook, Twitter and Shazam, the most used second-screen apps in 2012 are Yahoo! IntoNow, GetGlue, and zeebox

We can divide second-screen platforms into the following categories:

  • Generic, non-dedicated (e.g Twitter)
  • Generic with a dedicated microsite (e.g a Boardwalk Empire site on Facebook)
  • Generic, dedicated to social TV (e.g Yahoo! IntoNow, Miso)
  • Dedicated, specific (e.g Yap.TV, Actv8)

Key Moments in 2012

  • In January, the Super Bowl amassed 12.8 million comments across social networks during the game; last year it only garnered 1.8 million – an amazing 578% increase
  • At the London 2012 Summer Olympics, 4.9 million social comments were generated when Usain Bolt won the 100m race


  • To be successful, second screen apps need to be associated with high-quality content
  • The vast array of operating systems and platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry etc) does provide a challenge
  • Although there is great potential in second screen apps, new revenue streams are a necessity if they are to become profitable

Second screen activity is experiencing constant growth due to a number of factors:

  • The rising number of households with wireless connections
  • TV is amidst a new growth cycle in Canada and other major international markets
  • The number of Canadians with basic cable subscriptions in grew by 2.2% in 2011 over 2010
  • There is opportunity here for all players in the value chain, from creators, to broadcasters, developers, and advertisers