The three-screen experience is largely a social TV concept – how can a TV network engage the user beyond just the television screen. The strategy, I think, can also easily apply to media startups, particularly in gaming.
I spoke to a marketing guy last night, who was on the Pokemon marketing team just after it hit the scenes in the late 90’s. He attributed Pokemon’s quick rise and sustained popularity to the media machine it became – originally a Nintendo game, Pokemon quickly expanded to include a TV show and a trading card game, not to mention thousands of different types of merchandise.
I see a similar go-to-market strategy for a company like Rovio, who not only dominated mobile games on iOS and Android, but went on to sign deals for multi-platform video games, a TV show, and a movie. Going from one screen (the PC or the mobile) to three screens essentially helps transform a company from delivering just a game to becoming a franchise.Becoming a media franchise will ease the pressure to produce a series of hits (see: Zynga) and allow the company to produce a less lumpy stream of revenues.
What will be key is the ability for a franchise to create a unified experience around all of their products. I recently spoke to a product person from Sesame Street, who mentioned that their latest mobile apps are meant to generate incremental income (such as paid apps or in-app purchases) or to enhance/market their existing products (such as an augmented reality app that interacts with their existing DVD offerings).