The Broadcasting Revival on the Second Screen

Read time: 6 mins


How many times do you check your smartphone in a day? Hell, odds are you’re reading this on a smartphone and, while most of us would agree that less time on our darn phones is better, there is no going around the fact that most people will continue to use them with no clear ending to it in sight.

What we can hope is to spend this time more meaningfully and bridge these Second Screen Experiences with the surrounding environment. Reshaping the relation between content producers, broadcasters, artists, singers and their spectators. More importantly, the missing link between how people engage, share and redistribute meaningful content for them might just be around the corner.

What are Second Screen Technologies?

A Second Screen Technology usually involves a Smartphone on which a user may receive an enhanced experience of the surrounding environment. This might mean anything from viewing behind the scenes access to your favourite show that is broadcasted LIVE on TV, to your festival ‘all you can drink tokens’ for you and your friends.

What is SONIC Tag?

Use Cases and Second Screen Technology Examples in Action

Historically, there have been attempts by various innovators to capitalize on the promise the new smartphone and tablet era was going to bring. The reasoning behind it was that while users spend more and more time on their smartphones and tablets, the only way to keep their attention, even during their otherwise ‘favorite’ shows was if somehow the smartphone or tablet would become the Second Screen for the first screen, in most of these cases, the TV.

SONIC Tag exclusive content use-case

While initial feeble attempts have been made, most of them fell victim to a mix of factors and unfavourable market and/or technical conditions such as: low smartphone adoption at the time, no broadband internet, unclear monetization or business case. What has happened though, was a constant deluge of high quality content spewed out by all major and niche broadcasters and content producers all over Social Media, in the race for more viewership numbers. And just like in a greek tragedy, it gave birth to an even more powerful ‘Media Son’, coming to take their place, as Social Media Networks bite the lion’s share at an ever increasing rate advertising budgets worldwide.

Such attempts include but are not limited to the usage of websites and apps, but mostly Social Media Networks like Twitter or Facebook to distribute exclusive or augmented experiences. The problem with most of these initial attempts is that they either fail to create a contextual meaningful experience for users, or they just feed into an otherwise overcrowded Social Media beast. No producer, director, writer that is trending nowadays, has yet to set foot and claim the creative landscape determined by the First Screen and the Second Screen.

SONIC Tag exclusive content use-case

But what would it actually take to essentially be able to rewrite storytelling for the 21st century and augment existing productions with valuable experiences to the viewers?

Enter the stage, SONIC Tag

As usual, most complicated problems have essentially simple solutions. One possible avenue broadcasters and media professionals can explore is the use of SONIC Tag. In a few easy steps, any producer may add a unique audio code to his sound output that could trigger an augmented second screen experience via an app on the user's phone. It is that easy that you can actually install the SDK in a matter of minutes to your Branded App, and add this service instantly to your users and customers.

The reason why such an apparently small thing to do makes such a big difference is because this essentially gives any content creator the ability to expand way beyond the conventional limits and borders given by just one screen and free their audience from the same traditional constraints we have been used to for the past decades, within the same margins of ‘the box’. For this to happen, it is now more important than ever to actually think outside the box.

How does it work?

Using our proprietary technology, SONIC Tag is able to create a wide variety of contextual experiences, all triggered by sound. The only two conditions that need to be met are:

  1. You need to download your unique audio SONIC Tag code and embed it on your sound output, such as: TV (News, Movies, Documentaries, Sport Games, LIVE events etc.), Festivals, Museums, Amusement Parks etc.

  2. Users need to have your app installed on their devices with the proper permissions granted (similar to SHAZAM, only way more efficient in terms of battery life, user experience, success rates etc). No need to worry, you can get our SDK on your app in a matter of minutes.

Of course, as one might expect, when composing these contextual experiences, it is essential to match the moment on the first screen with its counterpart on the second. The fact is that the SONIC Tags cannot be heard by the human year, but can only be recognized by your Smartphone’s microphone. All of this without any privacy concerns, as the app is not recording, receiving nor sending any compromising data. We suspect this will be on the liking of many people worried by the privacy scandals shaking our society in the post GDPR era.

Via our SONIC Tag SDK, you may customize the messages sent as notifications, build and develop landing pages within or outside the app, on dedicated landing pages that can be hosted on your server or not, depending on the use case. The simple yet elegant solution to the SPAM risk being that users get to decide the frequency they are ok with to receive notifications. Also, by design, no app user will ever receive any notifications if their phone is not around the sound source to pick up the unique SONIC Tag.

Possible Applications and Use Cases

We promise to give this topic the proper attention it deserves, on a case by case basis in future blog posts. Until then, as most would wonder, we are barely starting to scratch the surface of some cool possibilities.

SONIC Tag museum use-case

We are quite keen on proving the benefits of adding this extra layer with real Second Screen Engagement from users to anything from Shows, Sporting Events, Museums, Educational Applications, Festivals etc. We will try to keep you updated with news and results, as we implement future pilot projects currently in the pipeline.


No matter what the future has in store for us, it will certainly shine through a Second Screen. We are now facing a turning point in which we get to decide how to build it and how we get to live in it, along with our Smartphones, at least for a while.

How personalized while still being able to live a private life, how engaging while also inclusive, how entertaining while non addictive. Having the best of two worlds almost always sounds a bit too good to be right, if not even a pipe dream. But the truth is that the opposite of an extreme is not another extreme, but rather the center, or equilibrium. We might just be lucky enough for this to be the only way forward lying ahead of us.