The phone is the second screen

There’s lots of interest in two-screen and social TV products these days. From Million Pound Drop to Britain’s Got Talent, lots of shows now come with a play-along second screen experience.

One debate has been whether a laptop or a mobile phone is the right screen to target. At Live Talkback we placed our bet on the phone. Partly that was because we’d loads of experience in the mobile world, but mainly it was because the phone feels right: it’s personal, it feels like a remote control, everyone’s got one, and it doesn’t distract from the TV as a laptop can so easily do.

With our recent experience on Britain’s Got Talent, ITV This Morning, ESPN and other shows, and with apps across iOS, Blackberry, Android and Nokia, along with widgets for web and Facebook, we can see where people are choosing to interact with TV.

So what are the results?

First off, it’s bad news for Nokia and Blackberry (disclosure: I used to work for Nokia). Their combined share of our user base is well under 3%. If people are buying their phones, they’re not using them for apps.

Apple is the clear winner, with iOS devices being used by over 60% of users. Not only is this 6 times more than the nearest mobile competitor (Android on ~10%), but easily beats mainly-desktop web at about 25%.

One surprise for me was  just how popular the iPod Touch is. The iOS share (60%) is split roughly equally between iPhone and iPod Touch. For all the hype about the iPad, it barely registers in our sample.

One conclusion is inescapable. Despite the discovery, sharing and ubiquity advantages of the web, nearly three-quarters of people are using their phones to interact with their TVs.  The social TV battle will be won or lost on the phone.

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