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TV executives crave viewers who watch 2 screens

According to a report by News Service of Florida the hottest new thing in television is the “second screen” — the one on the tablet computer or cell phone that an increasing number of viewers keep an eye on while they’re watching TV.

Figuring out how to corral all those second-screeners and make money off them was the hottest topic at the convention last week  of National Association of Television Program Executives (NAPTE), which attracted 5,000 television executives in Miami Beach.

The convention has traditionally been a swarming marketplace for the sale of syndicated TV programming, but this year much more of the buzz has been about how viewers watch television rather than what they see. “This is really the hottest thing in television now,” said Trevor Doerksen, founder of the Canadian online marketing company Mobovivo. “Everybody — advertisers, producers, TV networks — everybody wants to grab those second-screeners.”

Nowhere is television’s simultaneous convergence and competition with the Internet more obvious than it is in second-screen. By some industry counts, as much as 30 percent of Web-surfing is done while watching TV. If those viewers are drifting away to check their email or gaze idly at breaking news sites, that’s a threat to the TV industry. But if they’re using their computer to enhance their TV viewing — by learning more about the show or chatting it up with friends — it’s an opportunity.