FROM WEB VIDEO TO DUAL SCREEN
I caught up recently with David Kaiser, CEO of Coincident, and John Gilles, EVP of Sales and Marketing to learn more about what Coincident has accomplished over the past several years and to see a demo of their just launched ScreenSync TV.
You may be familiar with Coincident, a start-up based in San Francisco, because of their Glee Superfan Experience from 2010, which enabled viewers to watch repeat episodes on the web while accessing bonus video and musical numbers with lyrics displayed on screen.
If that sounds a lot like the dual screen interactive television marketing campaigns we've been seeing this past year, then you won't be surprised that Coincident has leveraged its web video expertise in developing its dual screen product. ScreenSync TV "makes it possible for companies to build deeply interactive viewing experiences such as offering bonus videos and photo galleries, serving-up relevant games and quizzes and sparking comments and conversation via popular social networks."
FOUR DUAL SCREEN DESTINATIONS
So what's different about ScreenSync TV? To my eye, Coincident has targeted four compelling (particularly in combination) destinations with its evolving ScreenSync TV technology:
1. Syncing with both VOD and Live: VOD is a logical step for ScreenSync TV as it shares similar attributes with web-based viewing. If you had an opportunity to check out the Glee Superfan Experience, you can see how Coincident keeps the focus on the main video while allowing viewers to check out other content easily. Coincident is also enabling ScreenSync TV for live television viewing.
2. Not Just Another ACR Technology: As Coincident puts it, ScreenSync is "unique in that it offers direct, synchronized control between a tablet and television set, allowing users to avoid the often problematic automatic content recognition feature embedded within competitive products." How? ScreenSync communicates directly with the STB or cable server head-end. As for "problematic" ACR, having experienced dozens of ACR powered dual screen experiences, I have encountered some syncing issues (e.g., Shazam pulling up songs rather than content) but for this to be a competitive advantage, we'll need to see features that ACR driven campaigns can't deliver. (Note that since the above quoted press release, Coincident is supporting the use of ACR to supplement syncing capabilities.)
3. Pausing Content: The key feature could be ScreenSync's ability to pause main screen content while the viewer delves into second screen content. That's an important advantage, particularly when it comes to engaging viewers in advertising or shopping (no missed programming). As Gilles put it, "We want to give viewers a video-centric experience where they conduct and coordinate their video experience." As for pausing live content, Gilles notes that they are "working on ways to accomplish this with live viewing". Obviously critical to sustain this advantage.
4. ScreenSync Authoring Platform: Coincident will shortly be launching an updated authoring platform that will allow "ordinary" users the ability to create these dual screen experiences in-house. That's a worthy goal given the need to rapidly create campaigns at a lower cost since the dual screen business model is a work in progress.
Four compelling dual screen destinations for 2012. I'll keep my eye out for ScreenSync deployments to see how closely Coincident follows their road map.
Will Keller is president of WE Keller Group, a consulting firm that advises corporate executives on interactive television marketing strategy and execution. For more iTV insights, follow Will on Twitter and subscribe to Inside the Screen, his monthly summary of the latest iTV trends and strategies.