Social TV app maker Yap.TV has been busy updating its iPad and iPhone apps to prepare for what it expects will be a very busy day of trash talking this weekend, as the Green Bay Packers face the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV. The app, which provides an interactive and graphical user interface for browsing, discovering and sharing comments on TV shows that its users are watching, just released a new version to accommodate the millions of fans that will be watching the big game Sunday night.
Yap.TV is betting on the second screen as a place for users to communicate with each other — and it’s not a bad bet, considering many TV watchers are already using their phones to text and tweet about the shows that they’re watching. The goal, according to Yap.TV Chief Marketing Officer Shawn Cunningham, is to go beyond the check-in to create real-time conversations between users. This weekend’s Super Bowl will be a big test of its real-time chat capabilities, which Cunningham believes gives it an advantage over other apps, which require manual updates to comment or participate in conversations with other users.
Of course, the challenge that Yap.TV and any other social TV apps face is in getting viewers away from communicating on existing social networks like Twitter and Facebook and encouraging them to chat on its app instead. In some respects, Yap.TV has a bit of a head start on other social TV platforms, as it enables an easy way for users to connect with their existing social graph, and to aggregate conversations that are happening outside its walls: It brings in tweets that are relevant to TV shows users are watching, even if those tweeting aren’t users of the Yap.TV app themselves. It also allows its own users to share their comments and polls on Twitter and Facebook, as well as with others inside the app.
Even so, another app means another place to go for users to communicate with each other. For those that will already be glued to Twitter, Facebook or SMS, that could be a tough sell.
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