Screach heads to the summit

It’s pretty quiet in the office today, because we’ve sent some of our finest folks on a quick early-morning flight to Ireland.

But we’re not sulking at the pitch-black morning wake-up call. We’re popping over to the Web Summit, Europe’s biggest tech conference in the fair city of Dublin. Screach was selected as a finalist in the Electric Ireland Spark of Genius competition, which will see 100 cool high-growth startups pitch to leading investors, startup and industry folk today.

Screach and the Space Invasion

We were out at a gig this weekend, and because we’re so dedicated, we took our work with us.

Screach’s second screen platform was put through its paces at Space Invasion, a creative show at The Sage Gateshead that was run by Generator and Northern Film + Media as part of Arts Council England and BBC’s initiative, The Space. Over 400 people bounced into The Sage’s Hall Two to listen to acts including Ghostpoet, DVJ Raj Pannu and Lulu James.

With all those lovely folk on stage, it’s worth bringing up a question that all second screen experience makers should ask themselves before they start shoving things onto people’s smartphones…

Why do people need to be looking at their phones with all this cool stuff going on?

What’s in store for Screach?

Screach co-founders Paul Rawlings and Sam Morton

If you’ve already downloaded Screach, you’ll notice we’ve got an update out. It’s all leading up to a major revamp of the app in the next couple of months, but it’s an interesting indication of where we’re headed…

Over the last 18 months, Screach has evolved. We’ve had a name change (for those of you who remember us as Screenreach Interactive), we’ve added a New York office, and we’re a bigger team than when we first emerged from the Difference Engine startup accelerator in 2010.

Screach at IBC 2012

Our CEO Paul Rawlings spent the early part of this week in Amsterdam, soaking up the atmosphere at IBC 2012. IBC is a great spot to pick up the latest chatter about electronic media and entertainment, and Paul was invited to be part of a panel on the evolution and the future of second screen.

During the conference, he bumped into The Next Web’s Martin Bryant, who’s been following Screach from its early days.

Once Paul got back to Newcastle, we grilled him a little about what he’d seen and heard at the conference, and had a bit of a chat of our own about second screen and where it might be headed.

How can interactive screens help make gameday great?

Photo by Paul Lowry

If you can’t be at the stadium to cheer on your favourite team, the next best thing is to soak up the atmosphere in a bar.

Sports fans are going to be doing a lot of that over the next few months. The Premier League is in full flow once again in England, Major League Baseball is steaming toward the playoffs, and the NFL kicked back into action with some great matchups last week.

As fans of screens, you can imagine how excited that makes us feel. So we’ve been thinking a lot about how you might be able to make that sports bar experience really spectacular.

Introducing Richard Dodd…our new COO

There are so many ways to use the Screach platform, and we’re only just scratching the surface.

That’s why it’s always great when we add a new member of the team who’s got a lot of wisdom and experience behind them. On that note, we’re pleased to announce that we’re welcoming retail expert Richard Dodd to our ranks as Chief Operating Officer.

Can second screen make a difference?

Can second screen make it easier for users to act on issues that inspire them? (Illustration by Catherine Kasas)

In a slightly longer post than usual, we explore how second screen experiences might help people to act on issues and causes that inspire them (featuring special guest Lee Duddell of Newcastle online usability testing company WhatUsersDo)

At some point today, your TV will show you something that will make you cry, make you think, or make you angry.

Can second screen help you to do something about it?

The promise of second screen is that, if you’re interested in a programme, you can learn more and discuss issues in an environment that’s umbilically linked to the show. But once you’ve built that interest up, is it acceptable to just leave users to hack through the forest of Google links to find a way to speak out or get involved?

How Cheryl Cole got our attention

Cheryl Cole’s new video is appearing on a big screen in Meadowhall mall in Sheffield from this week. But people won’t just be watching. They’ll also be getting involved using Screach technology.

A lot of people love Cheryl. But it’s a tough call to get a large group of people to stop and watch an entire video when they’re locked into a shopping spree. Seriously, have you seen the rock-bottom prices in that store over there?

However, that all changes when you give people the opportunity to interact with the video, especially if that involves the chance to catch the Geordie popstar herself on tour.

Polling at super-speed

Last week’s episode of Dispatches got us thinking about polling…

The first names on the credits had barely started sliding to the top of the screen when the voiceover kicked in.

Seconds after Dispatches presenter Jon Snow’s last piece to camera, viewers were told that 77% of the programme’s app users didn’t trust their bank. It was a question that had only been asked for the first time a half hour earlier, and that figure was changing in real-time as new responses came in.

That’s the beauty of second screen polling. Using the second screen Dispatches app, users can find out more about the subject they’re watching, and respond to polls. Those results can be viewed in real time.

There are a truckload of ways you could use this sort of feature. Screach has already partnered with Newcastle United to offer man-of-the-match voting during a game, and TV presenters could potentially find out within seconds what the public thinks of the last thing their guest said.

Ahead of the latest Dispatches show, entitled Do You Trust Your Bank?, presenter Jon Snow took to Twitter to kick off the buzz under the hashtag #snowbank. To get more information on what people thought, the programme makers also did a YouGov poll. However, it also road-tested the features of its Dispatches app, which has been developed by Screach as part of a contract with film and TV company Standing Stone. This gave it the chance to ask viewers to pass on their opinions instantly while the show was airing.

So does this represent an evolution in opinion-gathering, or simply a different approach? Of course, there are benefits to both methods, so we decided to put together this infographic to weigh up the pros and cons…