Sky to extend companion device leadership by integrating zeebox functionality into tablet and smartphone app family
Sky has entered into a strategic partnership with zeebox, the innovative ‘second-screen' consumer service that brings together broadcast TV and the Internet. Launching in the first half of 2012, Sky and zeebox will offer a ground breaking companion app experience for Sky customers which offers unique ‘augmented’ TV viewing features, such as connecting with friends around TV shows, finding more information about what's on TV, and buying products relating to their favourite programmes.
Sky will become the only TV platform in the UK to integrate zeebox’s technology into its own applications – which include Sky+ and the multi award-winning Sky Go - to give its customers an even richer companion experience to complement their main set viewing.
The zeebox service – currently available on iPhone, iPad and the Web – 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. Consumers use these ‘zeetags’ 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.
From later this year, Sky customers will also be able to use a zeebox powered Sky app to access their Sky+ box on the move, so they can manage their Sky+ recording remotely, as well as using their iPhone or iPad as a remote control for their Sky box, creating a comprehensive and fully integrated companion TV experience.
Led by Ernesto Schmitt, a former EMI board director, and Anthony Rose, who developed and launched the BBC iPlayer, zeebox has enjoyed considerable success since the public launch of its app in late October 2011.
As part of this multi-million pound strategic partnership, Sky has become an investor in zeebox and has taken a 10% equity stake, providing funding to support the company’s future product roadmap and global rollout plans. As part of the deal Sky Media will become the exclusive advertising sales agent for zeebox’s synchronised advertising inventory. zeebox remains an independent company continuing to operate its own zeebox branded social TV platform in the UK and elsewhere. It will continue to deliver an innovative second-screen platform that broadcasters and programme-makers can use to support and enrich their shows, connect with fans, and obtain new insights into viewer behaviour.
Emma Lloyd, Sky’s Director of Emerging Products, comments: "Sky took an early position of leadership with companion devices, having recognised the demand from our customers to use second screens to discover, enjoy and interact with their favourite content. The integration of zeebox’s innovative technology will enable us to make the companion device experience even richer and more engaging. We know that millions of our customers have smartphones and tablets and regularly use them to engage with Sky on mobile devices, so it’s a natural next step for us."
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."
Sky already offers customers more than a dozen high quality apps across Apple devices, Android and other phones. Sky’s apps include the award-winning Sky Go, Sky News for iPad, Sky Movies, and the recently launched Sky Sports News on iPad app. According to comScore data for October 2011, three of Sky’s apps appeared in the top 20 UK apps by cellular data usage in the UK. Collectively, Sky’s apps have been downloaded more than 20 million times. Sky is one of the UK’s leading media content providers and is the number one commercial content brand in news and sport.
To find out more read our latest blog on Sky Views by Emma Lloyd, Business Development Director at Sky.
Sky entertains and excites more than 10.3 million homes through the most comprehensive multichannel, multi-platform television service in the UK and Ireland. Sky continues to break new ground with its own portfolio of channels: Sky 1 combines its commitment to UK production with the best of the US; Sky Living pushes ahead with fresh and innovative entertainment formats; Sky Arts is the UK's only dedicated arts channel brand; Sky Atlantic is the home to HBO and other iconic drama and comedy, Sky Sports is still raising the bar in sports broadcasting; Sky News remains a pioneer in television news; and Sky Movies is leading the way in High Definition and on-demand.
Sky also works with dozens of other broadcasters on the satellite platform, as well as online and on mobile through the ground-breaking Sky Go service. Sky has also led the UK into the age of high definition television, launched Europe's first 3DTV channel, Sky 3D, and offers customer even more flexibility and choice through Sky Anytime+, its internet-delivered video on demand service. Since launching Sky Broadband and Sky Talk in 2006, the company has also been the UK's fastest-growing home communications provider.
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