MAD Perspectives Blog

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 The Third Dimension - Context

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The entertainment experience has been under invasion by social media and second screens for several years. Initially they were viewed with skepticism, then intrigue and ultimately accepted as the overall industry determined that they were more than a flash in the pan. They are more than a distraction and they are more than an incremental stream of revenue. They bring something extremely valuable to the audience experience. It is so valuable, in fact, that a lot of energy is being expended to ensure that they become even more tightly entwined with entertainment experiences, at home, or in stadium.

Yes, that's right at home or in stadium. Our entertainment experiences span many destinations. Not all of them are the optimal destination for accessing content via a second screen, so we'll focus on those locations that invite use of a screen to add context to the experience. Yes, context. This is the third dimension beyond time and content. Other than for live events, time has become a flexible concept (although, I suppose for physicists it has always been fluid). We access content as we like, wherever we are. In fact, we are willing to pay for that flexibility. However, the dimension that has been elusive has been context.

The rise of the second screen was initially touted as a distraction. It pulled the audience away from the action in front of them. However, comments on social media provided insight valuable to brands and advertisers. And, for sports fans, the second screen provided stats, comparisons and…yes, context. Context is defined as "the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood".  Whether we are enjoying scripted entertainment, reality programs, music or sports, thoughts are provoked which results in our accessing another screen to tap into the volumes of information available on the internet. We seek to validate or debate the moment which provoked the action.

Behind the scenes this craving for context is driving technology innovation. Whether it is platforms bringing together fans of the new season of "Scandal" or the legions of Champions League football fans. Whether we are in our homes or enjoying a match at the stadium, technology solutions are available, allowing us to access supplemental content which will provide context. Increasingly, technology vendors are investing in enhancing the stadium experience. It is no longer just about sitting in your seat. There are screens everywhere - from the very large to the very small. There is content provided by the sports club itself - some designed specifically for the big screen and other to provide context to the events on the field. 

The data - oh yes, there is a LOT of data, is aggregated, sliced and diced, to provide insight. It brings fans together as they compare performances. While the primary focus for augmenting the audience experience has been the use of second screens at home. The rise of second screen apps/platforms for use in stadiums is on the rise. It is more than ordering food to be delivered to your seat. They are apps developed by the stadium developers or sports club or league, designed to enhance the fan experience. The goal is to provide a more immersive experience - and it's all due to adding context.

We wrote about the rise of context earlier this year. It's about more than collecting the data, it's about using the data of add value. How often do you turn to your second screen for information to enhance an experience? Did you gain perspective about the event that prompted you to take that action? Did you add context to the situation? I bet you did.

What's your perspective?