Comcast takes stake in second-screen zeebox TV app

Michelle Clancy | 28-09-2012

No. 1 cable MSO Comcast has taken a stake in zeebox, creator of a second-screen TV app popular in the U.K. zeebox has now made its U.S. debut, and Comcast plans to leverage it for better user engagement and ancillary advertising revenue.

The free app, available for Android, Apple devices and Web browsers, syncs with what users are watching on the big screen and serves up behind-the-scenes information, trivia and other companion content, plus product or service info tied to ads. It also has the ability for users to comment on shows with other zeeboxers and offers integration with Twitter and Facebook.

For now, zeebox offers basic meta-information for programming across 150 channels, but HBO and NBC Universal both are working on additional enhanced zeebox features that will offer a level of personalisation and . NBC's Notre Dame football broadcasts starting 6 Oct. and singing competition The Voice will both feature interactive content starting the first week in October, such team-specific Twitter feeds or iTunes offers that dovetail with a song being showcased. Going forward, zeebox can add personalised content based on preferences and behaviour--a particular perk when it comes to serving up targeted advertising.

According to Page Thompson, NBC Universal's executive vice president for strategic integration, Comcast is hoping that zeebox will take off as the go-to app for interactive companion content across the board. The MSO is talking to networks and studios about integrating zeebox content into everything going forward.

"It's not about one show on one night," he told USA Today. "It's about everything on TV being enhanced."