The UK social TV company Zeebox announced today it hired Jason Forbes from Time Warner Cable Media where he was senior VP of strategy, products and marketing. Forbes will be tasked with heading up Zeebox's US operations as the company prepares to launch its social TV app in the states. "We're delighted to have Jason join the Zeebox team," said Ernesto Schmitt, CEO of Zeebox. "He brings significant domain expertise and a broad set of relationships in the US broadcasting and media industries..."
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The popular social TV app Zeebox -- currently only available in the UK -- launched a TV ad campaign over the weekend that delivered big results. The campaign appeared on Sky TV, and it's is likely the product of BSkyB's recent $15 million deal with the social TV startup. Zeebox CEO Ernesto Schmitt tweeted that the Sky TV ads were driving 15,000 downloads an hour over the weekend at one point. For context, Zeebox said it had 250,000 users in January, which spans both their web and app experiences.
Zeebox still hasn't launched in the US, but shortly after the London-based social TV company scored a large round of funding they're launching clickable TV ads across their platform. Their press release reads, "in a world first, UK users will be able to purchase products advertised on TV through their tablet or smartphone in real time." Zeebox seems to be one of the only major players in the UK giving them the opportunity to really build a great product in their market and then come to the US with a fine-tuned model and case studies. On the other hand, Shazam, Viggle and the other US social TV startups are working with brands to finally figure out how to make ads useful.
While the social web is instantly global, linear television is definitely not. Rights to distribute top television content globally often prevents top programming from airing outside the US for months. Completely different linear programming schedules is now forcing social TV startups to carefully launch in new markets to make sure TV needs are being addressed in each market's ecosystem. Zeebox is one of these apps that launched in the UK that we're extremely excited to see. It launched in early November with very good reviews. Available on iPad, iPhone and Zeebox.com, it combines a social program guide with real-time tweets and (for internet-connected TVs) a remote control, as well.