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NEW YORK – Some of the country’s biggest TV station groups are set to launch a major social TV initiative next year.
Silicon Valley-based start-up ConnecTV, a real-time social network built for TV viewers, on Tuesday said it has struck a deal with 10 broadcast groups with 201 stations, including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CW and WB affiliates, in markets that cover 76 million U.S. homes. The TV groups include Belo Corp., E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television and others.
The partners said that a number of the broadcasters involved have made an undisclosed investment in ConnecTV, which offers a second-screen experience for Web browsers and tablets.
ConnecTV allows viewers to interact with other fans watching the same program. It also provides a range of content and promotional opportunities related to the programs.
The station partners plan to promote the new service on air and online. The broadcasters will have local advertising inventory appear within ConnecTV.
“From its very beginning, television has always been a big part of the daily American discourse,” said Alan Frank, president and CEO of Post-Newsweek Stations. “In this digital era, much of this dialogue now takes place on social media platforms. As local broadcasters, we love that people are talking about our shows.”
“Our mission is for ConnecTV to be the social network that empowers entertainment, news and sports fans to share the greatest moments in television,” said ConnecTV co-founder Ian Aaron. “With over five billion TV viewers and the explosion of tablets and smart phones globally, we are truly at the beginning of a new way to watch TV.”
Currently available in an “invitation only” sneak preview, ConnecTV will be launching to the public in early 2012.
The company was founded by interactive TV veterans Aaron, former president of Gemstar-TV Guide and CEO of TVN Entertainment, Alan Moskowitz, former senior engineer at MobiTV and member of the founding engineering team at TiVo, and Stacy Jolna, former general manager of TV Guide OnDemand and chief programming officer and founding executive team member of TiVo.
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