ConnecTV broadcasters link up 76M US households in social TV deal

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 16-11-2011

Ten leading television broadcast groups with stations in markets covering 76 million U.S. households are adopting a joint approach to social TV.
Launching to the public in early 2012, ConnecTV, which is a free, real-time social network purpose-built for TV, allows viewers to interact with other fans watching the same program, while providing a broad range of related content and promotional opportunities that are directly synchronised to programs being viewed. The features can be delivered to any connected device, like an iPad.
The social TV landscape is heating up, with DirecTV and AT&T recently signing deals with Miso to implement a similar synching technology for a branded comment-and-share experience on tablets and smartphones--the so-called second screen. The difference here, however, is that ConnecTV will retain its branding, and be accessible via a variety of devices.
The broadcast partners, which consist of Barrington Broadcasting Group, Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media, will integrate and synchronise their programming within ConnecTV and promote the new service on-air and online. In addition, a number of the broadcasters have made an undisclosed investment in ConnecTV.
"From its very beginning, television has always been a big part of the daily American discourse," said Alan Frank, president and CEO of Post-Newsweek Stations. "In this digital era, much of this dialogue now takes place on social media platforms. As local broadcasters, we love that people are talking about our shows."
The idea, of course, is to drive incremental revenue streams for the broadcasters as well. Local advertising inventory will appear within ConnecTV to drive program promotions and deliver new campaigns through their local ad sales teams.
"We looked long and hard for a partner that could create a compelling environment that would encourage, enhance and monetise that dialogue, even during live programs including news coverage or sporting events – and we found it at ConnecTV," Frank added.
Combined, the TV groups signing on with ConnecTV own 201 stations made up of ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CW and WB affiliates in 45 of the nation's top 50 markets. Nine of the 10 broadcast groups had previously formed a venture named Pearl, which, as part of this partnership, will expand and coordinate the affiliate base of participating local broadcasters for ConnecTV.