2nd Screen Summit: Companion Experiences Still in the 'Awkward Teenage Years'

Sports panel discusses importance of companion, social experiences
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New York -- While the amount of second-screen experiences has seen
growth in recent years, there is still a long way to go.

"We're
in the awkward teenage years of second-screen and companion experiences,"
said Scott Levine, senior VP, video product for Univision Interactive, during
the "2nd Screen & Live Sports" panel at Thursday's 2nd Screen
Summit at Chelsea Clearview Cinemas. "There's still a lot of discovery and
experimentation going on."

Levine said
that because of the vast array of sporting events, second-screen experiences
are more of a case-by-case thing. "I don't think it's 'one-size-fits-all
and I don't even think it's '30-sizes-fits-all,'" he said. "We're
going to have to try to find the right experience to the right type of
environment for the right type of event for the right type of person."

Patty Hirsch,
VP and GM, CBS Interactive Advanced Media, argued that it's more about the
content than the platform. "Our strategy, especially on the sports side,
is built around not thinking about the different platforms but thinking about
certain content and where it's going to go." She also maintained that
companion viewing is "critical" to CBS Interactive.

The panel agreed
that a major drive for second-screen experiences is the social element, especially
with Twitter being known as an online sports bar.

Christy
King, VP, digital, technology R&D, UFC, says the MMA outfit has a leg up
due to its chief executive Dana White, who she called "the world's
loudest" person on Twitter. "He was online and doing that before most
of anybody on staff was, including our PR department."

So it comes
as no surprise that the social-media element is a big part of what the UFC
does. "We have built social experiences into basically everything we've
ever built," she said. "There are always Twitter feeds, Facebook
feeds and Vine connections."

Hirsch said
that social media was a big part of CBS' second-screen Super Bowl offering,
which was buoyed by the infamous blackout at New Orleans' Superdome.
"Social was a key component," said Hirsch. "Especially because
of the anomaly that happened with the blackout, it was a hugely successful
social event."

Aside from
blackouts, the panel agreed that the infrastructure at sporting venues still
has a long way to go, with thousands of fans struggling to get their iPhone and
Android apps working at the same time.

King, who
said the UFC is releasing a new fan experience app, said they have built in
capability to turn off certain features depending on where the user is.
"We know they can't consume this kind of video or this kind of game [in
certain venues], so we just turn it off." She said the UFC has a tougher
time than regular sports leagues because the UFC stages events all around the
world, sometimes in third-world countries.

"It's an ongoing
problem, but it's getting better every single day," said Hirsch.

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