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The promising social TV app startup Zeebox, which is due for U.S. launch this summer, will next head to Australia.
The London outfit, which paidContent revealed last summer, has struck a deal with commercial broadcaster Network Ten, which has made a “substantial” investment to form Zeebox Australia as a joint venture. It is helmed as CEO by Craig Blair, formerly an investor with Netus, an investment arm of News Corp’s News Ltd.
The deal mimics the one in which BSkyB invested millions in to Zeebox‘s UK operation to secure the company for development of its own social TV apps and in which it gifted TV advertising airtime to the startup.
In Australia, Network Ten will also commit promotion and, like Sky, wants to re-use Zeebox technology in its own-brand second-screen proposition.
Zeebox is now reaching out to broadcasters, TV producers and second-screen technology builders, encouraging them to build in-app experiences – through its “OpenBox” HTML platform – to sit in Zeebox, which works on iPad, iPhone, Android and web.
Zeebox offers several things – live chat and social feeds for shows, live info tags and purchase options for on-screen activity and custom experiences during particular shows.
It eschews the “check-in” philosophy of GetGlue and Miso but will go up against Yahoo’s Intonow when it launches State-side.
Zeebox, which is the banner sponsor for BSkyB’s The Simpsons, claims a million UK downloads to date, but did not disclose how many users are active. Usage in my social graph is notably low.
The outfit has gained respect for being started by former BBC iPlayer technology executive Anthony Rose, along with CEO Ernesto Schmitt.