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Second screening the presidential debate
Tonight over 60 million Americans will watch the first Presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. A very large percent of those people will, in addition to watching their television screen (or listening to their radio) be staring a a second screen on their mobile or tablet device.
Second screen behavior is the next big thing in media consumption. Pew Research released a report in the summer of 2012 heralding the rise of the “Connected Viewer” revealing that 50% of adult mobile phone owners use their cell phones while watching TV. Not surprisingly, people used their cell phones to:
- Keep themselves occupied during commercial breaks
- Find out more information about something they were watching
- Communicate with someone watching the same program
- Verify if something that was said on TV is true
- Vote on something (i.e. American Idol)
During tonight’s presidential debate 2nd screening will be in full force as viewers debate what the candidates are saying, fact check, argue, scream, yell, applaud, cry etc. The political climate in the country is feverish, especially among those most engaged with the election. It’s no surprise that people will turn to the most important device in their lives, their cell phones, to get their voice out.
The candidates themselves have been trying to “downplay” expectations of the debate. Campaigns frequently do that so as not to feed the media frenzy and hype given how unpredictable the debate can be. A simple slip of the tongue can lead to endless hours of punditry and gotcha headlines. The hyper-interactivity the public can now share with the candidates only adds fuel to the fire.
We’ve put together a brief summary of some of the 2nd screen apps that may be worth logging into tonight during the debate.
Peel makes apps specifically for 2nd screening. The Peel Smart Remote TV app is getting an update for the debates and users of the supported devices, including the Samsung GALAXY Tab, Tab 2 and Samsung Note 10.1, can access the updated functionality. Viewers can choose who they’re voting for (Romney, Obama or undecided), viewers can offer feedback during the live broadcast, giving candidates a “cheer” or “boo” based on their responses. After the debate is over they can weigh in on on who they think won the debate, with the option to share demographic information. Peel will collect and release data on viewer sentiment following the debate and provide visualizations of the data they have collected. For more on Peel check out coverage at Betakit.
IntoNow is giving some American Idol love to the Presidential debate. In collaboration with Yahoo! IntoNow will let viewers answer poll questions, give live feedback and interact with news content during commercial breaks. Looks like head to head combat between old media and new media for viewer attention during peak ad time. Said Yahoo! product manager Adam Cahan, “Along with live social-polling, IntoNow users will be able to get better informed with bios on the candidates, articles of related content on the topics being discussed and seamless access to communication and connections like Facebook and Twitter.”
Politifact is a staple in the political 2nd screen genre. If you ever need a place to go to find out how much excrement is being slung around by politicians Politifact is likely to have answers for you. Politifact editors, though frequently criticized for being partisan, are very good about covering the major items in the news to separate fact from fiction and establish levels of Pinnochio-ness. While their apps might not be as slick as some of the others in this category, they score high points on content and value.
A new entrant into this market, Ponderoo, is offering iOS users a new way to make the watching experience more social. We’re going to download the app today and update you a bit later on how well we think it works.
In addition if you’re in need of a cable-less place to watch the debates for free online, here is a list of sites you can turn to (thanks to GigaOm for pulling this together):
- ABC News will be streaming the debate live on its YouTube channel as well as its iPad app.
- CBS News will stream the debate live on Ustream.
- CNN will stream the debate on its website. The news network will also allow viewers to create clips of their favorite answers and share them with their friends.
- Fox News will be streaming the debate on its site starting at 4:45pm PT, and also feature some insights into the most popular topics of the evening through an exclusive collaboration with Twitter.
- The Wall Street Journal is providing a live feed of the debate on it site as well as through its WSJ Live apps on the iPad, on Android devices and various Smart TV platforms.
- Politico’s website streams the debate as well as some pre- and post-debate coverage, starting at 5pm PT.
- Univision’s live stream of the presidential debate will be translated into Spanish in real-time.
- C-SPAN is going to stream the debate on it site as part of its C-SPAN2 live feed.