Finally, social TV for grownups has arrived. But, don’t be mistaken; this is NOT your mother’s TVGuide. After what seemed like a long and tedious wait for many of us in the digisphere, the much-anticipated UK born app, zeebox, has finally arrived in the US. (GASP. SWOON. FAINT.) The self-proclaimed “TV Sidekick” officially arrived on this side of the pond early yesterday morning with media partners such as Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, HBO, and Cinemax in tow. The allure of this app is not just TV show information, or social gossip, or stickers, or imaginary points to earn made-up ranks among the royals of TV-viewership. It’s about access to information as it pertains to what interests you. Zeebox, in a word, is smart.
Due to my uncontrollable digital nerdisms, I immediately downloaded the zeebox app for my iPad first thing yesterday morning. I’ve had a hard time putting it down since, but not because I’m TV-obsessed. This REALLY is intelligent second-screen viewing. Zeebox truly enhances TV viewing, from the act of planning to watch a show with in-app alerts and reminders, to the on-air live viewing experience. The robust offering of information that users have access to via zeebox, both in and outside of the TV show listings featured, is mind blowing. Yesterday, one of the topics on the show Judge Judy seemed to be about the current depression in the US being the reason for non-payment of a debt owed by the defendant. I clicked on one of the show’s tags, “depression”, and was instantly served the Wikipedia history of the Great Depression, as well as the current US economic news and data, and depression era music recommendations available for download. I sat glassy eyed and in awe for several minutes, as I briefly caught up on my knowledge of economic current events. We are now able to expand our minds while watching even the most mindless shows on TV (no offense Judge Sheindlin). There may be hope for us as an entertainment consuming culture after all…
Zeebox displays “What’s Hot On TV” “Right Now”, “Coming Up” and “On Tonight”. Each time frame is curated by the shows that are “Most Popular”, have the “Biggest Buzz”, that the “Stars are Watching” and more. The app displays the buzz rating of each show in addition to the audience volume rating, the live social feed and the related news story feed. Users can scroll through each show to see all of these details, and engage with the audience if desired. The tags that I mentioned before, “Live Zeetags” are used to identify the show’s content, characters or related topics. Users can click through these tags to learn the history of the subject they clicked to, see the latest news around the subject, get related apps and downloads, or just see Twitter conversation about that particular topic. This makes the viewing experience both informative and educational, and doubly entertaining.
Zeebox also touts a “Guide” that displays the listing of the shows on TV with their individual stats, up to a week out. Users can set alerts for their favorite shows, and the app will prompt them when the show is about to start. The “Activity” feed shows the activity of all users on the app, much like the news feed in Facebook. Additionally, by connecting to the app with Facebook and Twitter, users can see the activity of their friends, and even start private chats with select group members using the app simultaneously.
Zeebox is definitely a big step in the right direction for the future of Social TV, second-screen viewing and TV entertainment in general. This is no doubt a positive addition to the entertainment world in the eyes of TV show executives, as the app facilitates fan engagement with their favorite shows before, during and after they air. Zeebox makes it possible for digital conversation to be carried on beyond the “show”, without getting stale, and with a major value to those engaging with it. This is entertainment made smarter. Literally. And, I’m on board with that.
Apps, entertaiment, iPad, News, Social Media, social tv, zeebox
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