Live interactive second screen sports applications: A qualitative study of users’ experiences, practices and expectations

Paulien Coppens, Wendy Van den Broeck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


With the widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets, these mobile devices are nowadays also ever-present while watching television. Although the television set stays central in many households, we have to adapt to a new ‘multiscreen reality’. There is an increasing amount of viewers who engage in online activities while watching television content. According to Digimeter, an annual Flemish media and ICT monitor, 70% of the Flemish viewers say to sometimes use the Internet while watching television, compared to 54% in 2013 (iMinds, 2014). This is mostly for reasons not related to the television broadcast (e.g. online shopping). However, the amount of viewers who make use the Internet for actions related to the television broadcast is also strongly on the rise, with 57% of the Flemish viewers engaging in this in 2014 compared to 43% in 2013 (iMinds, 2014). Popular are the search for additional information or content about the broadcast, browsing the program’s website and reading or engaging in discussions about the broadcast on social media. Although the laptop remains the most popular device to browse the Internet while watching television broadcasts, the smartphone and tablet are also very frequently used (iMinds, 2014). If these devices are used in conjunction with the television set (the main or ‘first’ screen), we could say that these devices are used as a second screen. The increasing popularity of mobile devices as a companion device creates new opportunities for television broadcasters to enrich the television viewing experience and to engage better with their viewers. They can facilitate this by building (customized) second screen applications. Common features of second screen applications are the integration of social media, background information, extra (video) content and interactive game- or vote-features. A specific category of second screen applications, are those built around live events (e.g. a sports game). Whereas the usage of second screen applications is the object of multiple studies (e.g. Cesar, Bulterman, & Jansen, 2008; Courtois & D’heer, 2012), user research on the experiences with and expectations towards live second screen applications is rather limited. The aim of this study is twofold. First, we want to explore users’ current consumption practices with regard to different types of live events (sports, music/dance shows, election shows…), consumed via television broadcasts as well as on location. Second, we want to identify users’ experiences with and expectations towards second screen applications for live events. Within the study, a specific focus has been placed upon sports events. Previous research shows that especially the sports audience has a higher tendency to seek for additional information or content about the sports events they watch (Pegoraro, 2013). In March 2014, three user focus groups were organized in Flanders. The first focus group (n=8) focused on live television broadcasts in general, including music and dance shows as well as sports events. The second focus group (n=8) focused on all types of sports events and a third focus group (n=8) was dedicated to football. During the focus groups, projective techniques (concept map, post-it session) were used as discussion starters and to deepen the conversation. Recruitment criteria included the possession of a smartphone and/or tablet and regularly viewing, respectively, live television broadcasts, sports competitions or football competitions. Participants were between 21 and 58 years old and there was a mixture of students and employed people. Results confirm that the mobile device is currently already often used as a second screen while watching live television broadcasts. At location, during a sports event, the use of a mobile device is avoided since this is considered unsociable, users want to be as involved as possible with the game and the mobile Internet network is often overloaded. Results further indicate that the respondents’ expectations towards second screen applications differ along with the context. First, users have different wishes with regard to second screen applications for entertainment shows and applications for sports events. Second, the expectations vary among the sports disciplines. Third, users have different expectations for the use of the app at home versus when the application is used at location. The context for example highly influences the need for and the type of extra information or content wished for and the motivation to be involved or interact with the broadcast or with other users. To conclude, user requirements are defined for second screen applications for live events.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Symposium on Media Innovations (ISMI)
Place of PublicationBrussels
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event4th International Symposium on Media Innovations, ISMI 2015 - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 2 Jun 20152 Jun 2015


Conference4th International Symposium on Media Innovations, ISMI 2015


  • Second screen usage
  • Live second screen applications
  • Sports viewing
  • User focus groups


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