New rules, new winners. Do you need a fourth screen?

[First posted on December 16, 2010]

We would all nod in agreement when someone tells you 3 screens have captured most of our imagination(in no particular order): the TV, the mobile phone and the desktop/laptop. They have strut right in, planted a flag firmly in the ground and claimed their territories, dominating most parts of our waking hours.

Colleagues, peers have shared discussions while marketing papers have been written championing the idea of the multi-screen strategy. Also thrown into the mix are channels like the bus lcd screens, the outdoor LED boards, the transit screens, the taxi screens and the lift lobby lcd panels, based on the premise that this strategy would effectively take hold of every moment of our waking hours. But wait…what about the E-book readers and the tablets in the market today, specifically the IPad and Android powered tablets that are gushing into the marketplace faster than an oil leak in the deep seas.

How will they change the landscape and where would they fall under in the scheme of things. What is their role in the life of consumers?

We have an unassuming yet voracious appetite to consume content, sometimes taking on more than we can and this has inadvertently led us down a path of information obesity today. Have we ever stopped to wonder if we could allow anymore screens to strut right into our lives and stake their flag right where the first 3 have done so? And if it did, would it take the crown by its horn and claim itself the title of the 4th screen when it reaches a scale tipping mass?

My assumptions would be these few items to tick off the checklist for that deserving spot of the 4th screen:

– amassing an amazing growth rate

– an expansive array of possibilities, including usage and costs

– a globally recognised demand and interest

– influencing and shifting consumer behavioral patterns



Quick fact: According to Bernstein Research, Apple now moves over 4.5 million iPads per quarter, earning it that enviable title. At that rate, Apple moves more than 49,000 iPads in a single day, or about one every two seconds.

Would the IPad acheive what the other 3 screens have managed to capture… our imagination?