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Social startup teams with TV graphics firm Vizrt

This is an interesting partnership to note. In advance of NAB next month, the social TV startup has partnered with one of the biggest TV graphics companies, Vizrt. Calling it an “unprecedented integrated social TV and graphics infrastructure,” the companies promise to help solve one of the biggest challenges of social TV: seamlessly incorporating audience participation in a way that matches the visual flow of the broadcast, both on TV and devices.

At a panel at SXSW, Olivier Delfosse, VP of Interactive at FremantleMedia, explained how TV producers are often hesitant to integrate social TV out of fear it won’t fit with the show. “They’re very visual, he said. “What is the right visual that matches it with the show design, and how they’re telling the story.” Beyond just broadcast, Vizrt also has design solutions for mobile that carry the same TV graphics package into the second-screen.

An early example of and Vizrt’s collaboration was last year’s Tour de France companion app for Norway’s TV2. This demo (above) is worth watching, even just for the sychronization features (when the director highlighted a particular rider on screen, the rider’s bio popped up on the companion app).

Vizrt is also well-known provider of 3D virtual sets, which could have some amazing integrations with social TV. (Here’s a demo video from Vizrt’s site).

“Both companies have a well-established international footprint, and by being able to integrate each other’s products, we can offer broadcasters an unprecedented social TV and graphics infrastructure,” said Vizrt CTO Petter Ole Jakobsen. “Television producers using the combined system can reach out to their audiences via social media or companion apps triggered by actions originating from within the Vizrt tools. This means complex workflows become streamlined, and fewer operators are required. And simple elements like polls and voting results can now be displayed on live TV with beautiful real-time graphics.”

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