Watching TV is a passive activity so we’ve all got a little cognitive surplus to play about with, right? Second screen companion apps have evolved as a result of the emerging desire for those watching TV to interact with or discuss the content further – with friends or like-minded people.
Usually, this will take the form of viewers comfortably watching the latest hit US TV drama on their large HDTV, but also listening in or joining the conversation using a smartphone or tablet device.
The more significant of the two announcements comes from British company zeebox, who has launched its second-screen TV companion app in the States, having secured backing from 30 US broadcasters, including Comcast Cable, HBO and NBCUniversal.
Zeebox exists as a mobile and desktop web app that “recognises the context of what its users are watching and enhances the viewing experience” by pulling in relevant content from across the web, TV programming guides, social networks and, of course, advertisers.
TV viewers already use Twitter as their second-screen in their droves. Zeebox simply combines this conversation that’s happening on social channels with contextual data on the content being viewed and presents this in a layer that’s friendly to consumers and advertisers.
Ernesto Schmitt, CEO and co-founder of zeebox, stated,
“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.”
Meanwhile, closer to home, Ireland’s digital content and communications provider UPC has today released its own social TV app known as TV Buzz.
TV Buzz is a web-based second screen service that allows viewers of UPC’s digital television service to discuss their favourite programmes in real-time. TV Buzz tracks the current 10 most popular pieces of broadcast content by social mentions from a list of 20 most popular UPC channels.
Rhona Bradshaw, UPC’s head of marketing, commented that social media adds a “whole new dimension to watching television” and that statistics show that many are now “using social media to discuss what they are watching in real time”.