By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York – Zeebox, developer of the TV Viewing Companion app, unveiled Thursday its U.S. launch plan in partnership with Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, HBO and Cinemax.
A Zeebox app for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Android device will enable viewers to browse TV listings, search for information about television stars and connect with other fans across networks, while simultaneously watching a TV program.
Through the new partnerships, U.S. viewers will have Zeebox access to more than 30 TV networks and will be able to use the service while viewing such programs as “The Voice,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “True Blood” and “Notre Dame Football,” the company said.
The partners will give their endorsements for the Zeebox experience, which is billed “a universal, cross-channel TV viewing companion.” Additional partners are expected to be named later, Zeebox said.
The Zeebox system was the brainchild of former EMI executive Ernesto Schmitt (current Zeebox CEO) and former BBC iPlayer chief technology officer Anthony Rose. It first launched in the United Kingdom last year.
Zeebox, which is a Cloud-based app, enables viewers to discover what to watch by browsing comprehensive TV listings, social media and personalized recommendations.
It recognizes the context of what its users are watching and enhances the viewing experience with relevant content and experiences from across the web, TV programmers, social networks and advertisers.
Viewers can engage with their favorite television personalities directly through Zeebox and even buy the products they see on TV.
Zeebox also automatically displays more in-depth information about the programs as viewers are watching.
“We are proud to launch with this game-changing roster of partners who recognize the importance of fully meeting web-empowered consumer expectations,” stated Schmit. “As consumers continue to flock to social media and the web to experience a program beyond what is on the screen, Zeebox gives content owners and programmers a direct line of communication, feedback and engagement that has never before been possible.”
As strategic launch partners, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal are backing Zeebox with investments and promotional support, and are preparing to enhance hundreds of their top TV shows on Zeebox, the company said.
Zeebox’s OpenBox API allows content owners to enhance their shows and channels on the Zeebox app in a matter of hours, distributing exclusive content to consumers, connecting directly with fans through live interactions and social engagement, and monetizing the second screen alongside TV commercials through synchronized, targeted, relevant advertising and affiliate links.
Zeebox said its own consumer research indicates that an estimated 70 percent of U.S. television viewers are interested in the features that Zeebox will provide.
The company is confident that Zeebox will deliver a comprehensive easy-to-use, centralized solution to the burgeoning second-screen market which thus far has been fragmented with many different apps and web services.
Zeebox features include:
The Zeebox app is currently available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch or at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/zeebox/id513267737?ls=1&mt=8.
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