Could Siri-Enabled Apple TV Reduce ‘Second Screen’ Viewing?

At the annual Apple Event last week, the company debuted a new Apple TV with a Siri-integrated remote, allowing users to search within the TV. Could search in TV change the way people watch it?

During a demonstration, Jennifer Folds from the Apple TV team showed what Siri can do. In addition to fielding questions about the show that’s on now, she was also able to answer unrelated queries, such as, “How did the San Francisco Giants do yesterday?” and “What’s the weather like in Juneau, Alaska?” Sports scores and weather updates appear at the bottom of the screen, not interrupting the show or movie you’re watching, although there is the option to pause while you look at more information.

Google Now On Tap and Bing Snapshots both allow users to search in-app and ultimately keep searches within the companies’ respective properties. This Apple update makes TV similarly interactive, as well.

“TV used to be an output-only media; now it’s interactive media,” says Sudhi Herle, chief product officer at RhythmOne, an advertising platform that connects audiences with content. “[Apple] blended it very nicely in this new capability. What remains to be seen is, will it be a novelty or will it alter people’s behavior?”

Earlier this year, management consulting firm Accenture released a report showing that 87 percent of consumers, particularly Millennials, use more than one device at a time, most often some combination of TV, laptop and smartphone. Though integrating search into TV could potentially make TV-watching a single-screen experience again, Herle doesn’t see that happening.

“Our multi-screen lifestyle is here to stay; I don’t think that’s ever going to go away,” he says. “There may be some minor change in the way people use multi-screen devices, but I don’t think it will be a significant number. I think we will see new modalities of transaction – of course, this is all predicated on Siri’s voice-recognition technology being up to par.”

More than changing users’ behavior, Herle believes that Siri in TV will change Apple’s behavior. This update will allow the company to further fine-tune its voice recognition capabilities, as well as use the queries to measure engagement and ultimately provide more targeted advertising in the future.

However, if this proves popular, Herle could see Siri helping brands monetize their TV ads. Either way, Hillel Scheinfeld, chief operating officer and co-founder of video engagement platform Viewbix, believes this change illustrates the growing convergence of TV, video and the Internet.

“At first, there was Now, we will start seeing the indexing of content to allow a personal assistant to pull up the content you want,” Scheinfeld says. “The next step will be to combine the power of on-demand viewing and listening with the power of on-demand requests and targeting to allow for a fully-interactive viewing experience.”

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