Sky has entered into a strategic partnership with Zeebox, the ‘second-screen’ app that ties together broadcast TV and the Wider Internet. Launching in the first half of 2012, Sky and Zeebox will offer the service to Sky customers. As part of the deal Sky Media will become the exclusive advertising sales agent for Zeebox’s synchronised advertising inventory. Ernesto Schmitt, Zeebox’s co-founder and CEO, adds: “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. Thanks to Sky’s backing we now also have the resources and expertise to set our sights firmly on international expansion alongside further innovation here in the UK and Ireland.”
However, you don’t have to be a Sky customer to access Zeebox. In the UK it’s already available on iPhone, iPad and the Web and essentially it serves up social media feeds and conversations via Twitter and Facebook, as well as additional information on the topics, people and products featured within specific programmes. Zeebox puts TV audio through voice recognition software which then generates ‘zeetags’ for people to click on, enabling viewers to search the web for more information, read up on characters or actors, purchase music, buy products featured on-screen – whether during programmes or ad breaks, or simply share their views with friends and followers on social media.
If you haven’t dabbled already, you may find Zeebox is hard to get your head around and doesn’t sound very revolutionary until you actually play with it. It brings pre-exisisting online features together and ties them together in a brilliantly executed product considering Zeebox is such a young product.
Zeebox was started by Ernesto Schmitt, a former EMI board director, and Anthony Rose, who developed and launched the BBC iPlayer, and was launched in late October 2011. By Sky taking a 10% equity stake, Zeebox will now have the funding to support the company’s future product roadmap and global rollout plans.