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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 03, 2013

zeebox Adds TV Rooms for Social Second-Screen Chat

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

zeebox 3.0 has arrived in the Apple (News - Alert) App store, with a shiny new feature that lets users participate in public or private chat rooms to discuss TV shows. The rooms are ephemeral and are open for a week after the air date of the show in question. So, zeebox somewhat remains true to its real-time mission to engender second-screen engagement around what’s on at any given moment.

In a tweet, zeebox CEO and co-founder Ernest Schmitt announced the upgrade, and promised more news:

The appropriately named TV Rooms feature lets users see from within the app a list of conversations around specific TV shows, stars and topics, along with how many people are participating. Then they can simply click “join” to be part of the action. Or, users can create their own rooms, designating them as public or invite-only. The option for TV Rooms is now included in the main horizontal navigation bar of the app.

zeebox, a British startup, launched in the U.S. and in Australia late last year. It has garnered strategic investment from Viacom, Comcast (News - Alert)/NBCUniversal and HBO/Cinemax in an effort to make the social-TV platform the go-to platform of choice. They are all developing ancillary content for the zeebox app that will sync to shows from their content stables.

zeebox uses a combination of video fingerprinting, audio content recognition and closed-captioning information to sync with programming on about 150 channels nationwide and local programming in five large designated market areas (DMAs). It offers standard social and second-screen TV functions like Twitter and Facebook (News - Alert) integration and comprehensive TV listings, but also additional information on actors and the show, behind the scenes video, polls, special downloads, e-commerce and m-commerce opportunities and promotions, personalized advertising and anything else that a content provider would like to serve up on iOS and Android (News - Alert) devices, and via the Web. zeebox said that content companies and distributors can create and publish content in “minutes.”

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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