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TVGuide pushes into second screen with USA Network deal

In a unique social TV partnership, TVGuide.com has replicated USA Network’s second-screen experience, Character Chatter, onto its site. Viewers who visit TVGuide’s summer preview section can participate in real-time social conversations around USA shows like Burn Notice and Covert Affairs, just like they can on USANetwork.com. And you can bet on seeing more deals like it.

“We’d be open to integrating everybody’s social streams,” TVGuide.com GM Christy Tanner tells Lost Remote. “Just as the playing field is level for streaming video and full episodes that we’ve integrated, that’s the same for a social stream.”

Tanner says the deal came together quickly after a brainstorming session with USA’s Jesse Redniss, and the Character Chatter platform was integrated with TVGuide.com’s look and feel. “It enables our users who are fans of their shows to seamlessly participate in social experiences that USA’s created, and overall their piece of the social pie gets bigger by adding our audience,” Tanner explained.

If you think TVGuide.com and its mobile experiences are starting to push into the second screen space, Tanner will tell you they already have. She points out that 91% of TVGuide’s mobile use happens in the home, 20% of TVGuide.com’s web traffic originates from mobile devices and 1.5 million users actively use the TVGuide apps every month. And in August, TVGuide plans a “major relaunch” of its mobile apps with new social TV features. “The experience that you see in our apps right now is a fine experience, but it’s about to get a thousand times better when we relaunch our apps,” she said.

And while many startups struggle with scale and a business model, Tanner says TVGuide.com has both. “For us, social TV is a business,” she said, adding that it’s profitable across the board. “It’s just a matter of time before we integrate additional (second screen) features. We’re prioritizing on the basis of what we can monetize and scale.”

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