Watching television: Cracking the screens

Wake up and tweet

IN THE television business, as at buffets, people crave seconds. A series is deemed a success if it is renewed for another season. The industry is currently obsessed with the “second screen”—mobile phones and tablets that people play with while they watch TV. Around three-quarters of American internet users regularly fiddle with a mobile device while watching the gogglebox. Media executives are abuzz working out how to turn this distraction into profitable transactions.Twitter, a social-media firm which published its filing on October 3rd for an initial public offering, has big ambitions for little screens (see Buttonwood). It trumpets its role as a complement to TV, pointing out that Americans sent 24m tweets during this year’s Super Bowl and that 45% of the TV ads during the event invited viewers to tweet about them. The firm has launched Twitter Amplify, a service that lets media firms and others tweet clips of shows or sporting events. These carry sponsorship messages from…

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