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How Second-Screen Experiences Drive Streaming Interactivity

What's driving streaming engagement, and where is interactivity for sports fans watching live streams and using streaming apps? And what are the current challenges to delivering interactive sports streaming experiences?

Rick Allen, CEO, ViewLift, starts the discussion by questioning how various streaming experiences can be “substantiated and extended” based on single-screen and second-screen setups for live sporting events, free-to-play games, and gambling. He asks Jennifer Kent, VP, Research, Parks Associates, “What does your research suggest that sports fans and other consumers of streamed content are most looking for?”

Kent says that interactivity in streaming is still heavily centered on the second screen. “Most single-screen streams aren't delivering much,” she says. “Smartphone adoption is extremely high, so the companion apps are where we're seeing most familiarity and engagement, especially if there's anything with a revenue opportunity to click through or a buy at the end. There are experiences that are too complicated today from a user interface perspective to happen on the primary screen.”

However, Kent notes that there are some useful interactive elements already happening on the primary screen, especially in live sports streaming. “The top activity that we're seeing…on the primary screen is jumping to an interactive timeline right in the stream,” she says. “So a highlight of a goal that happened or a touchdown, and you can move yourself to that place in the timeline. It sounds pretty simple but that's kind of where training the consumer to engage in these more interactive elements starts. So I think we're [in the] very early days, [but] there's appetite for it.”

Kent emphasizes that there have been positive experiences for first-screen interactive offerings compared to other interactive tech such as VR, which can widely vary in terms of usage difficulty and subjective user experience. But interactive timelines have led to positive word of mouth online, encouraging more users to try it out. “One good thing we're seeing is…people who have tried the interactive timeline and then say that they're very likely to use it in the future if their favorite video service offers it,” she says. “People who have tried it say, 'yeah, I think I'd like to use that in the future.' So that's a good indicator from a consumer demand point.”

Learn more about interactive live streaming at Streaming Media East 2023.

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