Breaking Bad Embraces the Second Screen with Story Sync


The TV viewer of the future is equipped with two screens – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

A new study from Pew Research reveals that 25% of all adult cell phone users now “incorporate their mobile devices into their television watching experiences.” But these users are still connected to the content they see on TV;  20% visited a website they’d seen mentioned on screen. Any marketer will tell you that that’s a pretty impressive mobile engagement rate for simply flashing a web address across the screen.

And the news is even better for programs who take the time to create custom content for viewers. According to the Time Warner Research Council, using a a co-viewing app – a product that allows users to interact with related content while viewing the program – actually makes viewers 33% more likely to view the brand favorably and 1.2 times more engaged than those not using the accompanying app.

Breaking Bad takes a stab at co-viewing content

The marketing team behind AMC‘s Breaking Bad is putting these second screen stats to work. Sunday night’s season five debut flashed an important message before viewers:

Have a second device? Check out breakingbadstorysync.com to join fellow fans online for snap polls, cool trivia and exclusive video while watching the premiere broadcast of the latest episode on-air.

Breaking Bad Story Sync

Spoiler alert: if you haven’t watched the season five premiere yet, you might not want to feast your eyes on the screenshots below.

The co-viewing concept is fairly simple. When you begin the episode, hit “Start Story Sync Now” on your iOS or Android device and the site will flow along with the episode providing a mix of interactive content. This week’s Story Sync included polls, trivia, infographics and a preview of next week’s episode.

Breaking Bad Story Sync Breaking Bad Story Sync Breaking Bad Story Sync

The logic here is that if your audience is going to distract itself with second screen content (and they will – 38% of mobile phone owners use their phones to amuse themselves during commercials) it should at least be your second screen content.

Breaking Bad isn’t the first AMC show to incorporate digital content. Check out our coverage of Mad Men’s mobile and social media marketing prowess.