Zeebox app to merge TV and social media
By Kate Bulkley
For Broadcast August 04, 2011
Former iPlayer and YouView exec Anthony Rose is launching an app designed to merge the worlds of traditional TV viewing and social media friendships.
Rose and co-founder Ernesto Schmitt, an ex-EMI board director, have raised $5m (£3m) to fund the launch of Zeebox later this year, and the pair are also in talks with connected-TV manufacturers about adding the app.
Zeebox promises to make TV more social and interactive through second-screen devices such as iPads and PCs, by allowing users to find TV content based on what their friends are watching or what’s trending on Twitter.
It will also allow users to interact with their friends during a show in real time, get instant information about actors or the topic of the programme they are watching, and buy products that they see advertised on live TV.
Zeebox-enabled TVs would have an icon that pops up, telling you which of your friends are watching and that you can chat with them on your second device. According to a recent Nielsen study in the US, 70% of tablet owners and 68% of smartphone owners use their devices while watching TV.
Zeebox taps in to the “conversations happening in parallel” to TV shows, Rose said, with TV becoming the “wallpaper that drives the social interactive proposition”.
He added: “Funky, clever, brilliant or stupid apps can be created around what’s on TV, and we provide a publishing system for broadcasters and programme makers, integrate the apps with the users’ friends, and bring them traffic.”
Rose also highlighted the London Olympics as being a “fantastic proposition” for Zeebox because the comprehensive BBC coverage will mean there is “too much to watch”.
“With Zeebox, you can sort by what’s trending, so if the UK wins a gold medal, you can find out about it and join your friends in real time.”