A friend of mine, Tom Cape of Capablue, told me recently over coffee about this new way of thinking about users of 2nd screens during TV viewing.
As the rise of providers of 2nd screen experiences quickens a reactionary new school of thought is emerging to try to make sense of it all.
Roughly speaking the thinking is starting to group viewers into two families – Meshers and Mashers.
Meshers are folks who use tablets and other 2nd screen devices in an attempt to enhance their content viewing experience.
The act of Meshing is one to both lock and entwine the screens in a way that is complimentary and enhancing to the content being viewed.
Examples of Screen Meshing are
- Channel4’s Million Pound Drop game show where the home viewer can play along via an iPad app.
- The Zeebox platform where a content specific experience is mapped to what is being shown on the large screen in real-time via social viewing and engagement platform.
Let’s Do The Screen Mash
Mashers on the other hand are viewers who take the second screen to consume as many experiences to accomplish multiple independent tasks.
The act of Mashing is one to create a pulp of numerous independent experiences with the goal of accomplishing as many tasks as possible in parallel (multi tasking!).
An example of Screen Mashing is
- Watching TV, emailing your family about Sunday dinner, Facebooking friends about the new photo you took and Tweeting your ego state all at the same time.
Are You a Mesher or a Masher?
The $64,000 question of course is: What proportion of your addressable viewership are Mashers and what are Meshers? – a follow on is then can the viewer of one family switch (or more to the point: be coerced) between one state to another?
The answers are paramount to the definition of any second screen strategy you might employ.
For example if you have an audience primarily Meshers you have an easy road because they are already primed to use tools to extend your content experience.
On the other hand if they are Mashers you need to figure out why your audience is actively prioritising doing other things over focused consumption of your content. And then you have to decide if it’s worth beating them or joining them.
Although it’s a bit old (Summer 2011) the below graphic from a Nielsen report is strongly suggesting that the current baseline is the majority of viewers are Mashers. As such for players like Zeebox and Miso they might have a real battle on their hands getting people into Meshers.
Or maybe it’s just a case that these services didn’t really exist when this data was taken. The up tick in subscribers due to a recent Zeebox Ad campaign (generating 15k new subscribers per hour) could point to a simple awareness problem.
One thing is clear – the answer is still unknown. So, do you Mash or Mesh?
— Cameron Church