UK-based Zeebox has announced its expansion to Australia, a joint venture with Network Ten, which will launch the product in that market. The launch comes right before Zeebox’s planned debut in the US, coming later this summer. It also underscores Zeebox’s aggressive international growth plans.
Zeebox said Network Ten — the equivalent of one of the US’ major broadcast channels — is making a “substantial investment” in the Australia joint venture as well as committing to promotional support. While Network Ten is the “anchor partner,” Zeebox says it is “working across the major media companies and content owners in Australia to enable them to use Zeebox in similar fashion to reach their fans and to extend their ability to commercialize TV viewers to the second screen.” Those partners will be able to use the Zeebox OpenBox toolkit which allows broadcasters to publish show-specific content into the app.
After Zeebox won a few important awards at TV of Tomorrow, the company leaked more details about their imminent US launch at the end of the summer. According to TechCrunch, “Zeebox expects to come across the pond by the end of summer, “with more than 150 channels based on audio fingerprinting, and be able to tell exactly what you’re watching.” This statement in their release confirms that even further.
We’ve been covering Zeebox since they began to gain traction in the UK. Their app (which you can access on the web here) includes opportunities to connect with friends, integrate with advertisers using Z tags and incorporate talent appearances. Networks are going to be extremely excited about this one-stop shop for social TV as many of the other second screen options have only fine-tuned parts of them. In the social TV world, it feels a bit like the Beatles are coming to perform in the U.S. for the first time – will everyone like them?