Two things I remember about the "Second Screen" and "Big Data" sessions in IBC this year and I think they are connected. The multiplicity of devices around us has changed somehow the way we watch television (I don't have a television). For some it is an improvement, it is the open door to multi-platform (TV + online presence on various networks) more than cross-media and surely a challenge to monitor the viewer attention. In other words what is doing the audience when watching television and where do I put my advertising?
England seems to be a giant laboratory where everyone can be observed, his behavior analyzed and quantified (they are statistically big twitter users). The amount a of generated data is enormous - we talk about big data - and the risk to be overloaded is real. This actually the case and I heard during the session from the panel discussion speakers that data scientists are needed (good for us).
An interesting talk from Twitter UK what to illustrate how the live audience reaction can be used to add information to a TV show. Example of the last US presidential debate was to say: six channels (not sure) were broadcasting exactly the same video stream, after days one was getting most of the viewers attention. Why? Explanation was this TV channel (it was Fox I believe) was able to analyze the tweets live during the debate (using the twitter API everyone can access all tweets) and to provide a global audience reaction to it, so nothing like "this candidate sucks" or "I like him" was appearing on screen but a simple feedback yes the candidate is answering the question or no he is not (not exactly that but not too far). You do need to have data scientists, people doing social graph analysis to retrieve such information. And there are companies offering this service to TV channels, doing interactive programming (I think they call it like that) and able to process the multiple streams of information coming from the audience, be it a tweet, sms, email, FB message... And if you know where your audience is then you are able to monetize this information.
Usability, it's nice to have many possibilities to react, send feedbacks, but they are so many options that it is difficult to drag most of the viewers attention or at least the group you have targeted without losing half of them on the way. I explain, if you are on your sofa, you don't want to follow a specific procedure, fill a form, touch your tablet screen with 3 fingers, flip the tablet in the air to be able to "interact" with the program to access something. In that sens someone from Shazam gave a great talk. He made a simple experiment to illustrate his point by asking us: who had the app on his smart-phone and what do you do to use it? You press the button to start the app and raise you phone toward the speaker. Their idea was to use this known behavior to communicate with the TV audience: you are watching a program, the shazam logo appear on screen, you raise you arm with the app on, some kind of audio qr-code are activated and you have access to new content on you tablet or smart-phone, brilliant (it was for tv program RedBull if I'm correct).