Second Screen Tech: Should You Buy vs Build?

Arena logo

Second-screen experiences – watching TV with your smartphone as a second screen – has fast become the new way to experience TV. Research shows that most Millennials and Gen Z audiences experience Gen Z this way. If you don’t offer a second-screen experience to your audience, your audience is at risk of disengaging.

The Second Screen Decision: Build or Buy?

Rolling out a second-screen experience to your audience is an important organizational decision. Like other transformational changes, there are a few ways to pursue this objective. Broadly speaking, you can build a solution using your technical talent or buy an existing solution and configure it for your needs.

There’s no single ideal choice in the buy vs. build debate. Instead, it’s important to think through the options to select the best choice for your circumstances.

Download our white paper “Generation Z and the Rise of the Second Screen” and transform your engagement strategy today.  

Building a Second-Screen Solution

Building a Second-Screen Solution

Creating your second-screen solution from scratch is a good idea in some situations. Discuss these issues with your team to see if this route fits.

1. Available development resources

Creating a new technology is resource-intensive. The first step is checking the availability of development or engineering resources. You may need multiple specialists to cover back-end development, front-end development, and the user experience (UI/UX). If you have staff available, creating a bespoke solution is powerful because you have a blank canvas to create your solution.

2. Priority on technological innovation 

Building a second-screen solution may also be a good option if your organization emphasizes technical innovation. Once upon a time, this consideration applied mainly to technology companies with deep pockets. However, some media companies are increasingly establishing significant apps and other technologies. Building from the ground up is a good pick if this is the case.

3. Maximizing broadcast rights 

Broadcast rights and similar arrangements give an organization a unique asset, mainly when these rights come with exclusivity. In this case, your organization has a substantial staff dedicated to video production, editing, and related disciplines. With that level of talent and unique content, creating your second-screen solution may be a good choice. 

4. High levels of fan engagement

For organizations with exceptionally high fan engagement levels, building a custom second-screen solution might be a good fit. If you already have millions of fans on your website and apps every month, developing a custom experience makes sense. You already have a significant amount of first-party data to draw upon to inform your solution.

Buying a second screen solution

Buying a second screen solution

There are a few situations where buying a second-screen technology off the shelf and customizing it for your needs is wise.

1. Limited development resources

What can you do if your organization’s technical and engineering talent is fully booked? The answer lies in using a low-code or no-code solution. Arena Live Chat may be a good pick in this situation. You can install Arena in less than 10 minutes and launch your first session in less than an hour. 

Arena is designed with a non-technical end user in mind, so that marketers, content teams, and producers can quickly get up and running on their own.

2. Fan engagement challenges

Do you need help to hit your fan engagement goals? If so, you are far from alone. Earning and retaining Gen Z engagement can be difficult because of their digital preferences. 

Gen Z are social natives, so focusing solely on TV isn’t common for them. Many Gen Z (and Millenials, for that matter) frequently use their smartphone to check email, social media, chat with friends, and look up information while watching TV. To keep them engaged, offering a compelling second-screen experience on your website is vital.

Buying a second screen solution for your website is crucial when fan engagement levels are low or falling because of the speed it provides. For example, you can add Arena Live Chat to a website in less than an hour. Your audience already knows how to use online chat, so there’s a minimal learning curve for your audience.

3. Limited or no access to TV or equivalent streaming content

Creating a second-screen experience when you don’t have rights or access to TV or streaming content takes creativity. It may not be possible to create short video content like highlight clips or clips from TV shows. In this case, your brand has to offer something highly engaging and easy to access for your audience on their second screen.

Let’s give an example. Your online audience includes a large number of music fans. You’ve found out that many of them also enjoy the annual Grammy awards show. There’s just one problem – you don’t have the rights to broadcast the show. Don’t worry – you can still keep your audience engaged on their smartphones while watching TV. 

In this situation, a live blog on your website is a great option. Before the event airs, your team can post interviews and speculation about the upcoming awards. As the awards show airs, post reactions, context, and short interviews about the performances and surprises in the show. You can win your audience’s second-screen attention by regularly posting new updates as the Grammy Awards are given out. 

To increase audience engagement even further, offer a live chat experience on your website to discuss the broadcast live. Your live chat will compete against social media, email, and other digital activities for your audience’s attention. Make your live chat unique by inviting exciting guests and experts to share their thoughts and answer questions to stand out and win.

Two Second-Screen Solutions To Take For a Test Drive

Choosing the right second-screen technology for your needs takes time. Testing a tool with your audience is one of the best ways to find out if the solution is right for your needs. Arena’s leading second-screen solutions – Live Blog and Live Chat – offer a free trial to see how they work for your audience. 

Chart: Second Screen Build vs Buy

Both can be installed on your website in minutes without any engineering support. Learn more about how Arena helps you build online audiences on your website. You can grow audience engagement, earn more first-party data and win with Gen Z.

  • Products
  • Solutions
  • Resources
  • Pricing
  • Talk to Sales