Sky buys into Zeebox social media platform

Sky is to integrate Anthony Rose’s Zeebox technology into its suite of tablet and smartphone applications. At the same time the broadcaster will take a 10% equity stake in the social media platform.

Zeebox makes it possible for friends to connect with each other around TV shows, find out more information about what is available to watch, and purchase products that relate to their favourite shows.

“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 UK and Ireland,” said the former EMI executive Ernesto Schmitt, zeebox’s co-founder and CEO.

Sky will become the UK’s only TV platform to integrate Zeebox into its own applications. These will include Sky+ and the multiscreen service Sky Go.

Zeebox was launched last October and is currently available in versions for the iPad, the iPhone and on the web. Sky customers will be able to use a zeebox powered Sky app to access their Sky+ box on the move, so they can manage their Sky+ recording remotely, as well as using their iPhone or iPad as a remote control for their Sky box, creating a comprehensive and fully integrated companion TV experience.

In a blog post Sky’s business development director Emma Lloyd said the broadcaster was looking at how devices like the iPad might be used to control the TV, a feature provided by both Zeebox and Sky’s technology supplier NDS.

Sky Media will become the exclusive advertising sales agent for zeebox’s synchronised advertising inventory, though Zeebox will remain an independent entity, and will continue to operate its standalone platform in the UK and elsewhere. Zeebox already incorporates listings for Freeview, Freesat and Virgin Media.

In addition to Rose and Schmitt the Zeebox team also includes Alex Nunes, a former lead technical architect for the BBC iPlayer and YouView platforms and Simon Miller, who was SVP Innovation at EMI.