Having proved a success in the U.K., Zeebox is coming to America, partnering with Comcast and other broadcasters. The Zeebox app helps friends use their phone or tablet as a second social screen while enjoying their TV viewing, and creating a potential goldmine in the interactive link between the viewer and content providers and advertisers.
When Boxes Collide
Zeebox launched as an iOS app last year for British users and created a clever link between those watching a show, your social networks and other folks viewing. It helps people to discuss the show, follow various tweet streams related to it, find news about the cast, teams in sports events and so on.
You can also download apps, films, episodes and other content related to that show or channel, and even use Zeebox as a remote control if you have a connected TV set. You can find shows by navigating the channels, checking out what is popular at the time or creating your own "My TV" favorites.
The app now runs on all iOS and Android devices and is available as a web service if you're on the couch with a laptop. Linking to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, it makes for an engaging link between TV and the web.
TV Isn't Dead
Some stats from the U.K. side show that the old tube is still a mighty force in media. 30% of all Internet usage happens while watching TV, 59% of the population now regularly chat through email, Facebook, or Twitter while watching TV, and 57% regularly check out news or shop online while in front of the TV.
Having proved the concept in Britain, Zeebox is now launching in America, with support from Comcast, NBC/Universal and HBO. With heavy promotion coming on NBC it will be hard to miss and if the user base rises as expected, it could become a de-facto standard to rule over any dedicated-service apps that focus on just one set of channels.
With the stickiness of social interaction, the ultimate aim will be clickable adverts that match the content shown on TV and during ad breaks, allowing for interactive breaks and greater chance of a sale, or improved awareness. Why just show a product, when you can offer instant discount vouchers for a there-and-then purchase, or instant links to an app that better shows a product?