New contender aims to unify TVs, second screens

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Wywy COO Andreas Schroeter.
Wywy COO Andreas Schroeter.

Recent German arrival Wywy co-ordinates digital advertising with TV spots

Mobile devices have brought exciting new opportunities to advertisers — as long as they can keep up with consumer behavior. German startup Wywy is hoping to help U.S. advertisers bridge the gap when gadget-savvy viewers dive for their mobile devices during TV commercials.

Wywy says it offers simple solutions to the second-screen conundrum that challenges the effectiveness of TV spots.

 Although TV advertising revenues still dwarf online ad revenues, second-screen devices are diluting television’s power to persuade. According to a study wywy commissioned from TNS, viewers who use a second-screen device experience a 58 percent drop in television ad-awareness. Wywy offers LiveSync, SiteSync and AdConnect solutions to streamline the television and online ad experience. Each service works to sync the television ad experience with viewers’ mobile devices.

The company expanded to New York in August when it acquired Second Screen Networks, another vendor of social TV.

According to Wywy COO and co-founder Andreas Schroeter, the technology works by detecting TV commercials running across 100 networks using automatic content recognition technology; advertisers can buy online advertising that coincides with TV transmission of their commercials. He said Wywy also helps determine if someone is actually in front of television with a mobile device.

Wywy quickly gained traction in Germany once it introduced its second-screen products in 2012. Schroeter said Wywy's German clients include Viacom, GroupM and OMD.

"It’s a two-step process," he said. "The first step is educating the market. Once the market is educated, that’s when the big budgets come in."

Schroeter acknowledged there is competition in the space, including Shazam and Twitter. He explained the differences between how each company goes about spreading a message. He pointed out that Shazam only works for registered users, and Twitter hashtags have limited scope.

"They’re great for live events," Schroeter said. "But they’re not so great if you’re watching an episode of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ for the third time."

Regardless of how they address it, Schroeter said advertisers have to realize single-screen television ads just aren’t enough anymore.

"The main thing is a change in mindset," Schroeter said. "Seven years ago, there were no smartphones, so that shift in consumer behavior didn’t exist. Now it’s very real. This change in consumer behavior means advertisers have to start thinking about how they can put it all together so it makes sense."

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