TVs and tablets: When one screen isn't enough

Broadcasters are increasingly encouraging their viewers to tune in on more than one screen.

Actress Zooey Deschanel arrives to The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' screening of Fox's 'New Girl' at Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on May 7, 2012 in North Hollywood, Calif.

If you find yourself watching the hit Fox sitcom 'New Girl' tonight, don't feel bad if your mind wanders to your smartphone
or tablet during the show. Fox actually wants it that way.

Instead of trying to capture your full attention the old-fashioned way, Fox Broadcasting has created a series of aps to provide extra content on your smartphone or tablet, to allow you to follow along during their broadcast shows.

For example, while watching 'X-Factor,' the popular American Idol-like show, you might see backstage shots of the performance on your tablet, or the lyrics to songs on the show.

And on the sitcom "New Girl," the network is even trying to sell you stuff. David Wertheimer is the president of digital at Fox Broadcasting, and he explains that, for example, Cece (one of the characters on the show) will be wearing a set of bracelets, and they'll show up for sale on your second screen.

Scott Steinberg is an analyst at tech Savvy. He says with more TV watchers now "second screening" it, the Networks are trying capture the momentum -- but the learning curve is steep and it's tough.

"You have the TV, you have to have the smartphone and tablet in front of you, you have to have downloaded the second screen experience app, you have to be actively engaged in it..." and the list goes on.

Steinberg says people aren't tuning into the second screen because they want more of what's on TV. Usually, it's because they're bored -- and more content won't change that dynamic.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

Actress Zooey Deschanel arrives to The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' screening of Fox's 'New Girl' at Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on May 7, 2012 in North Hollywood, Calif.

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