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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

One of the biggest topics of the year on Twitter, has been television. People have been watching TV with their laptops and phones in hand for a while now. It's called the two-screen experience. TV is the first screen and the social media of your choice is on your second screen. 2012 was the year businesses spent a lot of time and money trying to capitalize on the relationship between the two screens, as NPR's Sami Yenigun reports.

SAMI YENIGUN, BYLINE: Once upon a time, there was one screen that TV broadcasters needed to fill.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BEWITCHED")

DICK YORK: (as Darrin Stephens) That's all? These were the good old days.

YENIGUN: These days, things just ain't the same.

(SOUNDBITE OF DIFFERENT TV SHOWS)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Now, if you have a question for Antonio, all you have to do is check out our Facebook page NFL on ESPN.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Using our friends to analyze thousands and thousands of tweets in the twitterverse.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Just log onto bravog.com/playlive with your Smartphone or Tablet.

YENIGUN: It's the age of the second screen. In 2012, big business tried harder than ever to bring television to tablets and phones.

MARK GHUNEIM: This year I think we've seen a maturity in the social television space which is still very nascent.

YENIGUN: That's Mark Ghuneim from TrendrrTV. They keep track of social media around television.

GHUNEIM: You know, just looking at this year versus last year there's been, you know, an 800 percent growth in the commentary around TV real time.

YENIGUN: Did you catch that? The TV show chit chat on social media was eight times louder this year than in 2011. According to Nielsen, roughly 40 percent of people who own Tablets and Smartphones watch TV with them every day. People like Roxanne Gay.

ROXANNE GAY: I find television and pop culture in general to be kind of absurd, and Twitter is a really convenient medium for sharing the ridiculous thoughts that I have while watching ridiculous things.

YENIGUN: And as more and more people join Gay in her conversation, more and more brands are pushing towards the second screen. Take a show like "Survivor."On the side of the screen there's a pound sign, and a word.

GAY: They have a hashtag for something like immunity challenge.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SURVIVOR")

JEFF PROBST, HOST:

Once again immunity is back up for grabs.

GAY: So that you can see other people talking about it. And so television shows, I think, are realizing that people are starting to consume television differently.

YENIGUN: Every tweet with that pound sign immunity challenge will into fall into one searchable feed. So when CBS places a hashtag on screen number one, they're essentially creating a chat room on screen number two. And online chatter is just one of the things that second screens are used for. Trendrr's Mark Ghuneim says people also want to learn about what they're watching.

GHUNEIM: Picture a fantasy football league while watching your game or data about sports as its happening.

YENIGUN: There's also reward based apps, where viewers get social cred for checking into shows.

GHUNEIM: Like GetGlue, where you get stickers for checking in and Viggle where you earn points that can add up to value cards and things like that.

YENIGUN: Add to that gaming experiences, shopping experiences, and direct interaction with the show itself. This past year a technology called automatic content recognition, or ACR, synced up screens like never before.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "IRON CHEF")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: Start your (unintelligible). Next "Iron Chef" redemption experience now. Synch the IntoNow app to your TV from your Tablet or Smartphone.

YENIGUN: And starting in November the Food Network and Yahoo introduced The Next "Iron Chef" IntoNow app. It automatically links TV and Tablet.

SUSIE FOGELSON: It is, you know, I guess the best of the best of the second-screen experience.

YENIGUN: That's Susie Fogelson, senior vice president of Marketing for the Food Network. She explains how this works. Let's say Chef Alex Garnishelli is in a cook off.

FOGELSON: Say she makes a frittata and she doesn't know if that was the right use of egg or not. And then literally after that final decision you will see a video that is really exclusive to the app that talks about whether that was a good decision or not.

YENIGUN: For businesses, there are a ton of upsides. Trendrr's Mark Ghuneim says once brands have grabbed someone's attention with the TV, they can use the second screen to keep them locked in.

GHUNEIM: You can have a 30 second commercial that is triggering a seven minute experience with a brand.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Find us on the Web at mediamanagementpros.com. Or talk to us on Facebook and Twitter.

GHUNEIM: If that call to action or handoff is meaningful the user will explore it.

YENIGUN: And once the TV watcher starts watching their phone instead, who's to say that they're looking at screen number two?

GHUNEIM: The dominant screen might be for you talking to your friends around the show, right? Versus the other way around.

YENIGUN: Next year, the Nielsen-Twitter TV rating will track the buzz around television. Sami Yenigun, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION, from NPR News.

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