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Viacom mines second screen opportunities

Bob Bakish

Bob Bakish

The second screen provides an “extraordinary opportunity” for broadcasters as viewer consumptions habits continue to shift, according to the president and CEO of Vicaom International Media Networks (VIMN).

Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on a keynote panel called The Battle for the Multiscreen Home, Bob Bakish said that mobile opportunities rested around three main areas: mobile as a “door to the internet”; mobile as a stand-alone product opportunity; and mobile as part of new integrated experiences, which also span across linear TV and the wider web.

“Living media is really the seamless integration of linear programming, second and third-screen content, viewer and cast interactions, and broader social media. This obviously raises the bar for content providers, but it also provides extraordinary opportunity,” said Bakish.

Based on VIMN’s own research on millennials’ consumption habits in 32 countries, Bakish said that more than 90% of 60,000 respondents still regularly consume linear TV, though 50% now watch TV on the web. Some 40% also were found to ‘second screen’, engaging in TV-related activity through social media.

“Mobile internet usage is growing dramatically, and that trend is only going to continue and perhaps even accelerate. If you just look at MTV as an example, and you look at it in 2012, you would see that roughly 10% of all of our web traffic is coming through the mobile door. If you look at it in 2013, you’d see that number was closer to 25%,” said Bakish.

“Not surprisingly, we’re seeing a flourishing market for digital distribution, including digital distribution access through mobile devices. That’s through OTT players, like a Netflix, like an Amazon, where according to a recent Nielsen report, roughly 23% of Netflix’s US subscribers access their content on mobile in September of 2013. That was compared to only 11% previously.”

VIMN’s digital assets include mobile games based on Viacom properties, such as Spongebob Squarepants game Spongebob’s Diner Dash, which Bakish said had been downloaded 16 million times since its launch at the end of last year.

VIMN also runs a second screen app called Under The Thumb, which offers on-demand content as well as social interaction and acts as a remote control for smart TVs and computers. The firm also has a number of authenticated multi-platform viewing apps, such as its Paramount Channel app in France, which it runs in conjunction with CanalSat.