Sky Buys into Social Media Start-Up zeebox


LONDON: Sky has purchased a 10-percent stake in the zeebox social media service, with plans to integrate the technology into its own mobile apps to create an "augmented TV" experience.

The functionality will allow Sky consumers to connect with friends around TV shows, find information about what’s on TV and buy products related to their favorite programs. Through the exclusive partnership, Sky becomes the only TV platform in the U.K. to integrate zeebox technology into its applications, which include Sky+ and Sky Go. zeebox, which is currently available on the iPhone, iPad and the web, delivers social media feeds and conversations through Twitter and Facebook, along with additional information on the topics, people and products featured. Sky customers will be able to use a zeebox-powered Sky app to access their Sky+ box on the go, to manage recordings remotely. The can also use their iPhone or iPad as a remote control for their Sky box.

As part of the partnership, Sky becomes an investor in zeebox, with a 10-percent equity share. Sky Media will become the exclusive advertising sales agent for zeebox’s synchronized ad inventory.

Emma Lloyd, Sky’s director of emerging products, commented: “Sky took an early position of leadership with companion devices, having recognised the demand from our customers to use second screens to discover, enjoy and interact with their favourite content. The integration of zeebox’s innovative technology will enable us to make the companion device experience even richer and more engaging. We know that millions of our customers have smartphones and tablets and regularly use them to engage with Sky on mobile devices, so it’s a natural next step for us.”

Ernesto Schmitt, zeebox’s co-founder and CEO, added: "Sky has a strong track record of innovation, and we are delighted to partner with them to deliver zeebox’s social TV vision to millions of Sky homes. Thanks to Sky’s backing we now also have the resources and expertise to set our sights firmly on international expansion alongside further innovation here in the U.K. and Ireland."