In the last roundup, the second screen was called “the wild west of television.” Just two weeks later, it’s being described as “the marketer’s Holy Grail.”

Its actually not just hyperbole. New data from Nielsen shows that using smartphones while watching TV is up 34 percent, while tablets have risen a massive 400 percent as a second screen. Even though audience’s attention may be divided, people are more engaged with TV content than ever. A separate study by Thinkbox shows that 81 percent of people using multiple screens stay in the room and don’t change the channel during commercials. Only 71 percent of non-second-screeners do the same.

You have chosen wiselyAccording to utalkmarketing.com, participants in the study reported that using a second screen makes them feel closer to the show they watch. They were also more likely to talk about and share ads with their friends, and some were able to act immediately from what they saw.

Last week, some of the biggest names in broadcast, advertising, and technology gathered here in New York to discuss how to best use the second screen in the modern era of digital distribution, so it looks like the quest for this Holy Grail is well under way. At Magnet, we’ve been following the trail like Indiana Jones to bring you all the biggest stories and latest apps for this week’s roundup.

Brightcove’s Dual-Screen SolutionBrightcove logo

At least year’s Play conference, the annual digital media event held by Brightcove, the company announced it was moving into the business of mobile app creation. This year, Brightcove is moving into the second screen market with a whole new set of tools for designing social TV apps.

Called the App Cloud Dual-Screen Solution, Brightcove gives designers a set of APIs to design iPhone and iPad apps that will work with Apple TV to create a native and fully integrated second screen experience. According to Tech Crunch, “Brightcove’s Dual-Screen solution simplified the creation of these apps, enabling a whole new level of interactivity for app makers to unlock.”

Currently its only for Apple products, but you can be sure Brightcove will be expanding this soon.

Verizon adds ViggleVerizon Adds Viggle

Last week, Verizon Wireless announced that Viggle, the popular second-screen app that allows users to “check in” to television shows, will be available to all customers with an Android phone. The free app will allow Verizon subscribers to accumulate points by checking in to the videos they watch over the 4G LTE service.

Viggle uses the microphone on smartphones to automatically capture and identify the show someone is watching. Users earn points for loyally checking into programs and interacting with others. They can earn extra points by partipating in polls and quizzes, watching extra videos, and playing games. The points can then be redeemed from partner brands like Best Buy, Burger King, and Old Navy.

The app is free, and can be downloaded on many Android phones and tablets. Following the launch of Viewdini last month, the Viggle partnership marks another big step by Verizon to take its 4G LTE service into the second screen arena.

Avengers Blu-Ray Companion App

Marvel Studios announced its plans to release an iPad app as a companion to the Blu-ray release of The Avengers, which so far is the biggest blockbuster success of the summer. The app, called The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen App will get updated bi-weekly until the home release.

The Avengers AppIt will feature “special access” to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s (the fictional espionage group that works with the superheroes) database. This will allow users to become an agent, take on missions, see character profiles, and read an interactive comic book. The app will also notify users whenever new content is available.

The app was released yesterday, so we haven’t had a chance to really get into it. So far, it looks very nice, the character profiles are great, and the puzzle is fun. The app definitely shows some potential to grow with future updates, especially with Comic-Con coming up in San Diego. If the box office sales of the movie is any indicator, the app could end up being a huge success, and lay the groundwork for more companion apps for future releases.

In the world of apps, we have two new second screen experiences we’ve tracked in weeks 26 and 27 of 2012:

MasterChef
iTunes Store
Website

Platforms: iOS (Android coming soon)
Price: Free
Best Features:

  • Bonus footage, photos, character bios, and exclusive clips.
  • Get the recipes from the show to cook them at home. You can also save them for later and share with your friends.
  • Earn points by participating in polls and trivia questions during the episode to unlock badges and complete against other MasterChef fans.
  • Integrates with Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
  • Access to FOX store to buy MasterChef merchandise.

Limitations:

  • Some of the options on the polls and questions can be a little ridiculous.
  • Gordon Ramsay’s temper.

MasterChef App

TalkingTV
iTunes Store
Website

Platforms: iOS (Android coming soon)
Price: Free
Best Features:

  • Connect with people watching the same TV program and hear what they are saying.
  • Record your own 60-second audio clip of your thoughts, and other users can hear them, replay, and share.
  • Talk with friends, strangers, and occasionally celebrities.
  • Watch your favorite show with additional commentary from the cast and crew.

Limitations:

  • Not many, it’s a very well designed, easy to use, and pretty looking app!

talkingTV

Any thoughts on the Second Screen? Do you like to check in and compete on Viggle? Let us know in the comments and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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