In the U.S. many of the second screen apps that had hoped to thrive as compliments to the viewing experience are now gone. In Thailand however (which has a population of about 66 million), the second screen has actually matured a bit differently because of a TV economy and consumer base that watches differently. We recently connected with Thailand-based Chatterbox, an app that has features similar to tvtag, Beam.ly and Viggle. In Thailand and India (where the app is also available) they “have roughly 200k downloads on both iOS and Android” according to the company who were born out of Startup Weekend 2011 in Bangkok.
Chatterbox is definitely doing some interesting things and as they point out, since Twitter isn’t as prevalent they are carving out a niche for themselves as the go to social TV platform in the region. We interviewed Tareef Jafferi , Founder and CEO of Chatterbox about social TV in Thailand.
Lost Remote: How does the TV industry in Thailand differ from the US?
While TV in the US is transitioning to on-demand content with the likes of Hulu, Netflix, etc., TV in Thailand and India is primarily in the form of live broadcasted content. Moreover, free TV penetration rates (+90%) are much higher than that of paid subscription content (15-20%), which translates to a mass audience that is engaged to similar content at the same time. We feel that these are the factors that make Social TV most successful, and why Sports and Reality TV/Talent Shows have the highest engagement on the second-screen.
LR: Why did you create this app?
Chatterbox was a product of our team’s passion for TV and its intersection with technology. Born out of Startup Weekend 2011 in Bangkok, where it clinched 1st prize, Chatterbox has gone through several iterations and will continue to evolve to provide the ideal second-screen experience.
LR: Many of the TV companion apps in the US haven’t survived, have you followed this trend? Why do you think it will be different for Chatterbox?
We understand that TV companion apps cannot survive in a market as a stand-alone product. It’s vitality is dependent on how well TV content is able to engage with audiences using the second-screen as a tool. in Thailand, Chatterbox is working with a collaboration of TV content producers in creating real-time meaningful experiences, through many forms of user engagement (social, active participation, polling, trivia).The absence of a prevalent Twitter usage in Thailand also gives Chatterbox the opportunity to be the go-to social TV platform. With our recent launch in India, Chatterbox aims to be a social tool for the media rich community of sport enthusiasts and movie fanatics.
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