Sky: Second screen experience in front of TV key

Sky has told Pocket-lint that it sees tablets and smartphones as key in enhancing the viewing experience in front of the TV.

Ian Lewis, director of Sky Movies, told Pocket-lint that partnerships with companies such as Zeebox are all about "creating a full comprehensive second screen service", and that we should expect plenty more "second screen" offerings in the future.

Lewis, however, warned that many aren't ready to start using their iPad or Android tablet in front of the television just yet.

"Most customers don't want to do anything, but some do," added Lewis.

Those that do could be in for a treat, with Sky looking at several ways to enhance the viewing experience when you are sitting on the sofa.

One such area hinted at by Lewis is providing additional information such as what shows actors and actresses have appeared in previously, or more on the story of the movie you are watching.

Movie fans probably already used the popular Internet Movie Database app, but Lewis implied Sky could create its own version for customers.

It would make sense if the broadcaster were to use the service's Electronic Programme Guide to show when other movies by key people in the film are showing elsewhere.

Meanwhile at the same event in London, Simon Rexworthy, controller of acquisitions at Sky Movies, said that an app that will let Sky+ users stream the saved shows and movies on their Sky box to the tablet was in development and coming soon.

To help increase the "second screen" experience, Lewis also told Pocket-lint, Sky plans to evolve the number of Android devices on which Sky Go is available.

"Android is complicated because there are lots of players," Lewis said. "It's not as easy to develop for as Apple with its one operating system and handful of devices. That takes time, and we need to make sure security to protect the movies is right."

A recent survey in the US indicated that 85 per cent of US tablet owners used their tablets while also watching TV.

Market research firm Forrester also found that not only are tablet users embracing the living room as the new place to consume content, but also that the tablet is starting to replace the TV. 

Citing other data from a recent report by Nielsen, the two Forrester analysts Annie Corbet and Sarah Rotman, who wrote the report, found 30 per cent of total tablet time was spent while watching TV.

It's not just laptops and computers that tablets are replacing, either. Tablets are displacing small TVs, the report finds, with 32 per cent of tablet owners saying they won’t buy a small (less than 24-inch) TV in the future, compared with only 7 per cent who say the same about large TVs. 

The survey results would seem to back up Sky's approach.