Q&A With Niall Green, CEO of Second Screen
SECOND SCREEN have been making a name for themselves as app creators for music tours and festivals. One of their recent collaborations was with Nicole Appleton of All Saints fame on her social petwork app PetScene. I put some questions to CEO Niall Green to find out how the company started, how it works and their future ambitions.
Could you tell me a bit about your background prior to SECOND SCREEN?
I come from a background heavily entrenched in music, what with my grandparents being band managers. It was only natural for me to veer into a life that holds music at its core as my family does.
I spent many of my adolescent years helping my uncle backstage, loading in and out, at home we had an independent music management company in the basement which was a hive of activity almost 24 hours a day. As a result, I managed to learn a lot about managing clients and life in the music industry.
Where did the initial idea for SECOND SCREEN come from?
With my background, I was lucky enough to attend numerous gigs as well as working on the sets of many music videos through the family business; observing both the physical and digital landscapes which encapsulate music. After a while, I realised there was no dedicated space for fans to socially share the love and excitement from live events. Shortly after this awakening, the idea of SECOND SCREEN was officially born. In 2014, four years ago, I managed to pull the idea through and develop an app that would bring fans, artists and events closer together, via two-way shareable content.
SECOND SCREEN has already built apps for festivals such as Isle of Wight Festival and Boardmasters and created platforms for the likes of SJM Concerts and Universal Music. The apps are designed to give fans better access to live music, providing maps and timings for festival goers and offering a look behind the scenes at events often through artist takeovers. In some cases, SECOND SCREEN has even given fans the opportunity to manipulate the show they’re seeing by suggesting songs to perform, acts to play and cities to go to – within the apps’ message boards.
Can you provide an overview of how SECOND SCREEN works?
SECOND SCREEN is a technology startup that sits in-between a social media platform and forums. We create local social networks for the music industry, as well as other creative industries by building tailored mobile apps. From our template solution we can brand a network with any or all of our 30 pre build functions in 1 day and online ready for distribution within 5 days. Cheaper and quicker than any other solution in this space.
Users can simply download a SECOND SCREEN app via the App Store or Google Play store for free and set up an account in less than a minute. Every SECOND SCREEN app is uniquely branded for brands, artists and events, offering bespoke features, brand activations and native advertising campaigns that are relevant to their audience and bring them closer to the experience.
Once a user has signed up they get access to a world of content provided by the Event/ Artist and its media partners. Users are encouraged to share content within the network to enter competitions and once they see that the content is being shared with people who have an invested interest in the network they continue to share through the event and for the most part all year round.
What challenges did you face bringing SECOND SCREEN to market?
I think I can speak on behalf of most business start-ups when I say it’s a huge challenge managing and doing all the day-to-day work when starting out with a small team – especially on the weekend of our first Isle of Wight Festival when I ended up in Hospital! However, we have now grown and built a strong team structure to ensure we have the right support network for SECOND SCREEN.
With technology constantly moving, Apple and Google (our biggest stakeholders) are always demanding different asks from us. Keeping up to speed with their ever-evolving terms and conditions can often bring us down when it conflicts with new ideas we have, due to limitations put in place by the the very stores which distribute our apps. With goal posts moving almost daily in some cases its important to stay agile.
Being specialists in the music sector what can you provide for your customers that other app makers can’t?
Music fans are accessing most of their content via general social media and internet forums but what’s missing is a more direct platform for communication, dedicated to their interests. SECOND SCREEN apps can provide just that and more. Individual festivals and event organisers can also utilise this space for their own customer support – responding to any requests and comments from attendees. Premium content is easily discovered, filtered and enjoyed by attendees. Sharing is inherently social, creating a space for conversation is a simple way to keep an audience captivated. Pairing this with music enables our clients to lengthen the conversation around their brands all the while having full control over their community guidelines.
Rather than starting a service built strictly around live music, I recognised that specialisation was the only way to cut through the white noise. Social media is already becoming overly saturated with content but fans are now able to log into their SECOND SCREEN app and receive instant mobile notifications when tickets have been released or stage times are announced – something which social media or forums can’t guarantee because of how easily it is for conversations to get lost in the general noise and stringent algorithms.
You recently collaborated with Nicole Appleton to create PetScene (a social network based around pets). How did working on this differ from your more traditional festival and venue apps you previously made?
Every SECOND SCREEN app is different in it’s own right; each one will have a unique theme and therefore a distinctive audience. However, we took a leap outside the world of music and entertainment to create an app that would appeal to a dedicated audience of pet lovers.
As opposed to our more traditional festival and venue apps, PetScene is strictly social; offering a fun and interactive social network dedicated solely to pets. Apps for the likes of the Isle of Wight Festival or Fusion Festival have more than just a content sharing newsfeed but also provide the user with event information and news about their desired interests. As PetScene works on the same idea that sharing is social in the way that a forum perhaps works we where able to use functionalities we previously built.
What are your future ambitions for SECOND SCREEN?
Moving forward, I want to push SECOND SCREEN into events beyond the music industry.
We are currently exploring the possibilities for app development within other industries such as sport, conferences, film festivals and premiers. We are also exploring apps which can be deployed around any subject for example an election, public gathering or protest. Essentially wherever there is a conversation to be had digitally we feel can be molded into what we do at SECOND SCREEN
SECOND SCREEN apps are more dimensional than your usual social platform; we want to capture every conversation and totally magnify it. The idea is to identify every conversation out there and package that energy within an app. We are becoming the first-choice app partner for the music industry, with over 1,000,000 users and counting – I can’t wait for SECOND SCREEN to flourish as we continue to go beyond.
If you want to find out more about SECOND SCREEN you can do so on their website secondscreenldn.com