#GirlGeeksTO: Shift from Second Screen Experience to Screen Thinking

#GirlGeeksTO: Shift from Second Screen Experience to Screen Thinking

The first thing Stephanie Wilson Chapin challenged at the Sept. 16 Girl Geeks Toronto Meetup was the title: Seeing Double: The Second Screen Experience.

Responsible for operations, strategy, and growth of Bell Media’s digital properties, Wilson Chapin is the Director, Digital, News for CTVNews.ca, CTV’s local news sites, BNN.ca and CP24.com.

She says that instead of second screen, we should be calling whatever device a person is focused on the first screen.

This shift is a result of the shift in consumption. The traditional media hierarchy is TV first, then print, followed by radio.

When it comes to news consumption TV is king, but online and mobile are clearly on the way up. It is estimated that by 2020, 80 per cent of media will be digital.

Wilson Chapin says that while television still exists, we have to shift from our traditional definition of a device receiving broadcast radiowaves on a picture tube to one that integrates the idea of multiple screen thinking.

Today, television is one of many different screens. A TV set is now considered “video on a big screen.”

So why shift to screen thinking?

  • 50% of Canadians have a device most of the time while watching TV
  • 19% do all of the time
  • People look at the news more than ever
  • Tablets are transformational and have seen the most dramatic growth (up from 11% to 44% from 2012 to 2013 while watching TV)
  • Most of the time people are doing something completely unrelated on their mobile devices while watching TV

Wilson Chapin provided examples of successful digital platforms built to accommodate screen thinking:

  • App: Today Show Zeebox for State of the Union
  • Web-based: W5 Offside where Kevin Neuman hosted a live chat
  • In-screen: TSN Extra built into FIBE
  • Fully integrated: Al Jazeera makes screen thinking part of the show’s DNA with the Stream; Today Show’s new Orange Room with Carson Daly except that it is separate from the show (i.e. not part of DNA of the show)

An example of a fail that she provided was CTVNews.ca/social where Kevin Neuman hosted a question period. It failed because people had to login and it was ultimately too complicated.

In an ever-changing screen thinking environment, Wilson Chapin offered the following advice to digital teams made up of developers, content creators, marketers and designers.

What developers need to know

  • Pick one or two platforms and focus on them (i.e. the most in-demand coding languages)
  • Be really good at dumbing down complexity – we need great communicators
  • Be prepared to leave your comfort zone
  • Stay open and alert to what’s new
  • Don’t be squishy about project timelines

What content creators need to know

  • Learn how to build a website from scratch
  • Get to know HTML, CSS and Photoshop
  • Get to know social, spend a lot of time on mobile devices
  • Don’t be afraid of the numbers – know the traffic patterns, coming and going
  • Collect amazing user experiences from a variety of screens
  • Never begin a conversation with a developer that starts with “it shouldn’t be too difficult to…”

What marketers need to know

  • Focus by picking a passion
  • Build campaigns with multiple screens in mind from day one
  • Collect great user experiences
  • Spend a lot of time on a variety of screens
  • Understand and measure
  • Don’t ever say “it shouldn’t take too long to…”

What designers need to know

  • Create brands with digital DNA that works on many screens
  • Insist on digital specialists
  • Work closely with developers from day one
  • Take advantage of new testing methods like eye tracking studies
  • Be flexible enough to change on a moment’s notice

Wilson Chapin wrapped it up with one major piece of advice above all: Don’t be afraid to fail.

TIP: To stay on top of news, a couple sites Wilson Chapin uses include Reddit.com and Newswhip.com.

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