Second-screen goes on-demand: zeebox embraces VOD
Michelle Clancy | 04-01-2013

Hot on the heels of successful launches in Australia and the US, social TV wunderkind zeebox is investing in the technology side of the house to embrace the rise of VOD by integrating the Gracenote Entourage Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) engine into its app for iOS and Android.

This will enable it to automatically identify the show someone is watching and deliver a synchronized second screen experience across not just live, but also time-shifted TV.

"People love zeebox's programme discovery, TV remote control and interactive second screen experiences. Today that experience is focused on live television," said Anthony Rose, co-founder and CTO at zeebox. "Gracenote technology will allow us to take zeebox to the next level, providing that great interactive and synchronized zeebox experience for both live and recently PVRd content."

Gracenote Entourage uses advanced audio fingerprinting to let apps on smartphones and tablets identify TV programmes and movies by "listening" to a few seconds of the dialogue or soundtrack. Once the Gracenote Entourage ACR technology has helped zeebox identify the content, the app can then automatically provide additional information, votes and polls, tweets, presence and transactional opportunities, all synchronised to the programme being viewed.

The brainchild of former EMI executive Ernesto Schmitt and BBC iPlayer CTO Anthony Rose, zeebox is geared to provide next-generation advertising experiences along with a variety of social approaches: users can use the app to discuss TV among their friends, see what top celebrities are saying or monitor the Twitterverse. The company recently announced a series of strategic alliances with Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal, Viacom, HBO and others, in a bid to standardise operator approaches to TV companion apps onto one platform.

"Through its unique blend of trending data, recommendations and social features, zeebox has led innovation in the market of TV companion apps, and we are thrilled to partner with them," said Stephen White, president of Gracenote. "Real-time data about what's hot and trending now is key to the zeebox discovery experience, and Gracenote Entourage will make it fun and easy for viewers to identify and share what they are watching."