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Zeebox update lets celebs invite fans to watch TV with them

Hot new social TV startup Zeebox has decided to harness the power of celebrity by enabling high-profile users to share their thoughts on what they are watching with friends and followers within the Zeebox app.

The new “Shout Out” feature enables viewers to react to what they are seeing on the TV screen by instantly relating their thoughts to friends and followers via Zeebox, Twitter or Facebook.

The team behind Zeebox claim that the new feature will promote shared live TV viewing amongst friends, and serve as a way for celebrities to drive up audience figures.

Another new feature to be added is “Group Chat”, which provides a chat window for people to discuss what they are watching with their friends.

Zeebox claims that group chats of thousands of users will be possible, and expects the feature to be used by broadcasters and their talent to create celebrity-driven chat rooms.

“TV talent have discovered that Zeebox can take their engagement with fans via Twitter to another level,” says Simon Miller, Head of Product at Zeebox. “By tweeting from Zeebox and using the new community features, celebrities can bring their followers together in a shared social space – the Zeebox show page – where the audience can engage whilst watching their favourite shows.”

Other features included in the update are “Twitter Tribes”, which lets users tweet streams for different teams during a big match or follow the major stars on a favourite show; the ability to ‘book’ programme reminders directly from the programme guide; and the addition of Auto and Manual modes to the TV remote control function, which works on connected TVs.

Zeebox recently formed a partnership with fellow UK firm ShowCaster to deliver innovative live video shows within the Zeebox app. The partnership will enable TV viewers to watch and interact with the cast or other presenters during and following their favourite shows, on their preferred second-screen device.

The Zeebox app is available on iOS and Android devices, and on PCs and Macs. It provides users with a more social, interactive experience when watching live TV by combining a powerful “Zeetags” engine which generates clickable tags based on names, subjects and products mentioned during a TV show, live chat with friends, an overview of social media activity around the programme, and access to additional information.

The Zeebox team has indicated that it is planning to launch in the US later this year, and has appointed ex-Time Warner Cable exec Jason Forbes as Executive Vice President of its US operations.

Ernesto Schmitt, co-founder and CEO of Zeebox, recently revealed that the company had hit 15,000 new app downloads per hour, following its first TV advertising campaign, which ran on the networks of minority shareholder BSkyB.

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