Discovery Uniting 'Cake Boss' Viewers Through Social Media

Fans of Discovery Communications' TLC show Cake Boss, as well as its popular sites Curiousity.com and HowStuffWorks.com, can now discuss what they are seeing, hearing and reading using technology from Arktan, a Silicon Valley company that specializes in “Social TV” to communicate.

In an agreement with Discovery announced Wednesday, Arktan will provide cloud-based software that weaves together what is being said about shows and sites on 40 social networking sites, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, with comments from fans and users. The technology company also provides interactivity that allows for things like polling of what people are thinking or interested about a show or site.

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“We’re helping the brands extend real-time conversation from the social web to their own sites; this has helped stem the dispersal of real-time audiences due to time-shifting DVR technology,” said Rahul Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Arktan.

Aggarwal founded Arktan almost three years ago with Srikanth Nagandla. The vp of business development is Ralph Marx.

“The social destinations for each episode on Curiosity.com and on other Discovery sites, such as HowStuffWorks.com, have allowed us to extend the discussions with and among our fans and ultimately broaden exposure for our brands, programs and platforms,” said Kelly Day, executive vp and GM, digital media and commerce, at Discovery Communications.

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Arktan said it provides second-screen experiences for brands and websites. Its clients include entertainment shows including The X Factor and Dancing With the Stars (for whom it provides a polling service that counts toward the votes which impact the outcome). It also has news and communications clients including ABC, NBC, the Washington Post, Newsweek magazine and the Universal Music Group (including fan interaction pages for Lady Gaga and Dr. Dre). It has also done fan pages for  things like the Republican candidates debate at Dartmouth College and for fans to comment about New Zealand Rugby.

A spokesman said Arktan is self-funded by its founders and, unlike most Silicon Valley companies, does not have a major venture capital investor. He said the company is already profitable.

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