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Zeebox set to put ze bomb under Aus broadcasters

Ex-BBC CTO launching Oz social TV with mystery broadcaster

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Anthony Rose, the brains behind the BBC's iPlayer and former Kazaa CTO, is preparing to launch his social TV platform Zeebox in Australia.

The high profile start-up has already secured a deal with a local broadcaster buy has yet to confirm its identity.

The service offers a personalised two-way, social, commerce and interactive second-screen experience live across smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Zeebox launched in the UK last year and has attracted a 10 percent, undisclosed, multi-million pound investment from News-backed BSkyB. The deal gave the broadcaster exclusive UK rights to integrate Zeebox’s technology into their own fleet of mobile apps, and cashed up he start-up sufficiently to expand internationally.

Zeebox will launch in the US within the next few months and is currently setting up shop in Australia with a digital elite recruitment drive.

Given News' existing interest in the company, sources tip that the Ten Network is the likely Australian broadcasting partner with the relationship driven by Lachlan Murdoch.

It is understood that Craig Blair, a former senior executive with News Ltd owned start-up incubator Netus has joined the Australian team and positions are currently being advertised for digital TV production executives.

Rose knows the Australian market well having lived here and prior to joining Kazaa working as VP for Technology at Sega Australia New Developments.

Rose describes the platform as ‘TV’s new best friend.’ “It’s not people moving away from live TV. It’s making live TV better for the next generation,” he said.

Zeebox aims to leverage the rise of connected TV usage as a real-time platform for social TV viewing by turning their tablets into a socially networked remote control.

The first iteration of Zeebox has been a free app for iPad followed by iPhone and Android versions which are TV guides that concurrently display what your Facebook and Twitter community is watching on TV.

Those with connected TVs can flip channel straight from the app like a remote control and will also be able to buy products advertised on TV allowing users to interact with what they are watching through clickable tag.

In the UK Zeebox has appeared in the Sky+ app, which already offers subscribers an interactive programming guide to schedule digital recordings. While BSkyB has been selling sponsorship and product placement opportunities around Zeebox’s “Zeetags”, which allow for hyper text to be shown around actors, objects and topics on screen. ®

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