How Multi-Screening is Changing The Way we Broadcast and Advertise


What is Multi-screening?

Multi-screening, quite simply, describes the use of multiple screens at one time. Whether this be tweeting whilst watching your favorite TV show, or googling cheat codes whilst playing a computer game. Most of us are avid multi-screeners! A study by Google found that today 90% of our media consumption takes place in front of a screen. You can read the full report by google here.  



TV is currently the most popular device used in multi-screening. Broadcasters and advertisers need to understand how multi-screening changes the way in which the public interact with, and respond to, what they see on TV. Participation in multi-screening has been broken down by google into 4 unique “pathways”. Content Grazing, Investigative spider-webbing, Quantum Journeys, Social spider-webbing.

Content Grazing – The process of multi-screening whilst viewing unrelated content. For example, watching the news and checking your emails.

Investigative spider-webbing describes people who watch something and then use a second device to research it further. For example watching a music show and then searching for information on a music artist you see.

Quantum journeys describe people starting the process on one screen and continuing it on another. For example starting an amazon shop on your phone and finishing it on your laptop.

Social spider-webbing describes the way in which people seek out social interactions based on what they are watching. Such as using hashtags on twitter to comment on a football match.

Multi-screening & broadcasters 

Broadcasters and advertisers need to ensure they stay ahead of the game. To do this they need to understand how multi-screening can be used to their advantage. Social Spider-webbing and Investigative spider-webbing are the most useful pathways to broadcasters and advertisers. From a broadcaster’s perspective, this can help keep ratings up. And it can stop people from switching channels during an ad break. It can also make people feel like they are part of the show. This level of engagement creates a more loyal audience. People feel their opinions are being listened to, and they are having some impact on the results of the show.

Broadcasters should optimise opportunities for multi-screening engagement on their programs. Broadcasters can do this in a number of ways, and there are various TV programs out there that are already making the most of this. “The Last Leg” regularly trend on twitter with their interactive polls and questions. They encourage viewers to tweet to them whilst they are watching the show. The Xfactor, developed an entire app to engage with their audiences. This gave viewers the chance to vote on performances, watch back performances and act as a judge.


Multi-screening & Advertisers

From an advertiser’s point of view, multi-screening can be a source of free publicity.  As audiences often use social spider-webbing to share links to brands they have seen in an ad. They can also gain new business from investigative spider-webbing. Viewers will see a product or service on an advert and immediately look at the website to get more information. Especially relevant, studies have shown that when someone is using another screen they are less likely to leave the room during an ad break and many find they are watching the ads without noticing. A current example of this is the “Builders Vs Strutters” advert for They have encouraged people to comment on their advert with a hashtag and end the advert with a link to their website. 


Multi-screening and Exhibitions

So, we know how multi-screening can be used to engage audiences sat at home in front of their TV screens. Here are some ideas for engaging with audiences at an exhibition. How far you can take this, and how interesting you can make it, really depends on your industry and target audience. 

  • Use a large screen to show event/company tweets in real time. Those engaging with the stand could be encouraged to tweet and a specific hash tag could be used.
  • Encouraged to upload images of their experiences on the day, these would then be broadcast onto a large screen. You could even offer a chance to win a prize for the best/most creative image.
  • Use cameras to project a video recording of the event. People could then be seen interacting with different stands.
  • Build a smartphone app so that attendees are able to interact with others at the event and interactions could be shows on television screens.
  • Create an augmented reality game for smartphones. Attendees could be encouraged to collect things over a number of stands or areas of the exhibition.


It is worth noting that nearly four in 10 millennials (39%) say they interact more with their smartphones than they do with their significant others, parents, friends, children or co-workers. If you are targeting this demographic then it could be argued that they would be more likely to engage with your brand in person if they have already engaged on a screen. Multi-screening offers such a wide range of opportunities for the broadcasting and advertising industry. Going forward, it is important that media and marketing departments work together, and use their creativity to develop new ways for customers to multi-screen. This will ensure audiences find it easy to interact with their favorite shows and brands.

Author: Chanel Serena Morales: Marketing Coordinator


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