ONA13 second screen panel recap and behind-the-scenes peek at our GameCenter

At ONA13 this year, I was on a panel with ESPN's Patrick Stiegman and Al Jazeera's Rami Khater to talk about second screen experiences in a session called, "Broadcast For All: Mastering Multiscreen Production."

I would by no means call myself an expert at multiscreen, as our first foray into it was just last month with the launch of our Seahawks GameCenter, but what I did bring to the panel was a realistic look at how to experiment with second screen using free tools, cheap tools, open source tools and very few developers.

Below I've embedded the entire presentation and audio (my slides are the last chunk).


To recap my points:

  • Not everyone has full-time teams of multiple people working on projects. At The Seattle Times, I'm the sole news applications person, stealing developers from sales and marketing. We were able to pull off our first GameCenter with 2 weeks of development. 
  • We built our GameCenter using WordPress. There's a page that pulls in the_content of any post categorized as "GameCenter", which usually is always going to contain a ScribbleLive chat.
  • The right column of the page on desktop uses WordPress widgets to populate the content. The mobile version of the page flips that menu horizontally to become swipeable tabs.
  • The blog uses a child theme, so we can spin up a GameCenter on any blog. All we have to do is create a category called "GameCenter", a page called "GameCenter" which uses our custom page template, define the core colors in our sass and plop in some widgets and IDs for the team stats.
  • The entire GameCenter fits within the workflow of our bloggers who have to do nothing but add a category to the live blog posts they were already used to creating weekly.
  • We were able to monetize it by selling a sponsorship that injects an ad every 10 posts.
  • Time on page is about 6.5 minutes, and half of the GameCenter's traffic is via mobile, compared to only 29% sitewide.
  • It's been an easy way for us to experiment with mobile-first design and responsive design, two things we aren't able to do on a large scale yet.