TV and social media. The perfect combination? British Sky Broadcasting and startup Zeebox would like to think so. While Zeebox launched last year October as part of an iPad, iPhone and web app, BskyB has now taken a 10% equity stake to further cement the importance social TV.
The Zeebox service mixes tweets and status updates, plus a “living” TV guide to show users who is watching what.
An undisclosed sum
The service was launched by those behind the BBC iPlayer and has already enticed over 250 000 users into its digital grasp. BSkyB bought into Zeebox for “an undisclosed” sum, rumoured to be a multimillion-pound deal.
The deal, however, secures exclusive rights to incorporate Zeebox tech into BSkyB’s mobile apps, yet the startup, based in London, is still able to expand its global reach.
Zeebox will make its first appearance in the Sky+ app, software which already gives its subscribers a similarly themed interactive scheduling and programing guide.
BSkyB however, plans to integrate features such as “Zeetags” deeply into its existing setup. Zeetags are interstitial text messages which display information pertaining to the content, such as movie name, topics of interest and actor information.
Zeebox services also function as light eCommerce apps. Users can scan their shows for background information and purchase products related to the content. Zeebox research shows that a full third of internet use in the UK happens during TV watching, therefore there’s no better time to combine both mediums than now.
The year of the tablet
With BSkyB deeming 2012 as the “year of the tablet”, and Zeebox being fully compatible with the iPad, it seems that Sky is sneakily marketing these devices for its social TV services. Despite BSkyB and Zeebox merging, the London-based startup will continue to offer its services as a separate entity. BSkyB has confirmed that Zeebox is free to enter into further deals with competing broadcasters.
Former EMI exec and Zeebox co-founder says,” Sky has a strong track record of innovation, and we are delighted to partner with them to deliver Zeebox’s social TV vision to millions of Sky homes.”