Second ScreeningYou’ve maybe never heard the term, “second-screening”, before, but chances are you’ve done it. In fact, 87% of individuals with more than two personal devices “second-screen” all the time.

So, what is second-screening? The term is used to describe the phenomenal trend of individuals viewing media content on more than one device at a time.

What is Second Screening?

Does this trend feel familiar to you?

Second-screening most commonly refers to an individual watching television while also viewing content on a separate device (e.g. phone, tablet or laptop). Second-screen content might include the news, social media, random internet searches or online shopping. Studies are showing that most people are now using a second screen while they watch television.

So how did we get here and why can we no longer watch Scandal without a second device? The answer is simple: we’ve been unconsciously practicing second screening for years. For example, Twitter’s launch of “Hashtags” made it easy for shows and even celebrities to engage with their audiences directly and in real-time. In fact, they encourage fans to follow along during their shows on Twitter using a given hashtag.

For many, having your phone on hand during your favorite show, the Oscars, Grammys or the like, simply allows you more in-depth access to the show and its stars. This has become such a trend that there are several popular apps like NextGuide, GetGlue and Viggle that market themselves as “social networking apps”. These apps allow users to “check-in” to watching their favorite shows and connects them to other fans and information where they can discuss what they are watching.

Another influence affecting the rise of second-screening is the wonder of having information right at our fingertips. Essentially, blame it on Google. Want to know where you’ve seen that actor before? Google it. Kerry Washington is wearing a pair of shoes you must have? Google them. Did that Hulu commercial just remind you that you need to refill your prescription? Grab your phone and fill it.

Many would say that second-screening has made their viewing experiences better and more interactive. Others would say that second-screening is necessary as our fast-paced culture requires multi-tasking and quick responses more than ever before. However, studies are underway to determine the potential affects second-screening has on the brain…which makes sense if you think about it. We all know too much screen-time is bad for your brain and bad for healthy sleep patterns. One can only assume that two screens at once is even worse.

But while we wait for the results of those studies…the game is on – where’s my phone?