RealNetworks (s RNWK) has made a strategic investment in social viewing startup ClipSync, which makes it easy for content owners to create social viewing rooms for their video. With the investment, RealNetworks is betting on social viewing for its SuperPass subscription service, which allows viewers of shows like Big Brother to get a behind-the-scenes look at what happens on the reality TV show before it gets edited down for TV viewing. Details of the investment weren’t disclosed.
ClipSync provides technology that allows multiuser viewing and interaction with online video. In the past, it has been tapped by companies like Myspace and Epix (s LGF) (s VIA) to create social viewing rooms for videos through their online platforms. It’s also been used over the past two years for RealNetworks’ live broadcast of video feeds during the taping of CBS’ (s CBS) Big Brother.
SuperPass subscribers can pay $14.99 a month or $39.99 for three months of access to live, multicamera feeds from the Big Brother house. With the subscription, they also can chat with other fans, vote in polls and participate in trivia contests and games through the ClipSync platform. The social player and live feeds basically enable reality TV producers to profit from content that wouldn’t have been seen by broadcast TV audiences.
“This gives them new revenues for content they would have just thrown away,” ClipSync VP of Marketing Spencer Chen said in a phone interview. “Reality shows are recording everything, so they end up with a lot of content… that they just can’t monetize.”
San Francisco-based ClipSync has been around since about 2006, with investment from KPG Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The company has 25 employees globally, with offices also in New York City and (coming soon!) Los Angeles.