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Vidpresso debuts low-cost way to get social TV updates on air

A new social TV startup called Vidpresso launched a new product today that enables TV operations to easily display tweets and Facebook updates on the air. While the technology isn’t new, the price may catch the eye of cost-conscious TV stations: the product starts at $400 a month.

The interface is very simple. You start by adding social accounts into the system, and the tool displays the latest updates, @ mentions and Facebook comments in an integrated stream. Producers can quickly pick the updates and comments they want and click the “send to air” button. The social updates animate on the screen in less than a second with a customized template and title:

As we reported at NAB, the more established TV graphics firms are getting into the social TV game, adding the capability to display tweets and Facebook updates on air. Chyron added a product called “Engage” that ties to Mass Relevance and other partners. Vizrt also launched a social display product. While we’re not familiar with the pricing of the more established players, Vidpresso’s low-cost entry into the market may capture the attention of stations wanting an easy, plug-and-play solution without all the bells and whistles. There’s no need for custom hardware: the company said a computer and scan converter will get the job done.

“We’re three hacker types who believe broadcasters are getting a raw deal when it comes to technology,” explains co-founder Randall Bennett. “They pay thousands of dollars for proprietary hardware which is difficult to use, difficult (and costly) to upgrade, and a process which generally nickels and dimes them, and treats them generally poorly. Our goal is to create broadcast software which makes the old practices obsolete, and is the best software for creating television.”

KSL in Salt Lake and KTXL in Sacramento are both Vidpresso launch partners, and the company compiled a few examples in this video. Bennett created this demo of the tool to show broadcasters how it works, and he said the TV stations enjoyed the tool’s simplicity and the integration of profile pictures. “It seems like a small detail, but having someone’s profile picture is sort of like their signature, and it makes the segments feel more engaging,” Bennett said.

After today’s launch, Vidpresso says more features are on the way. “Things we think are interesting and that we’d explore with customers are things like polls, question queues, gathering text messages and emails in the mix, as well as seeing if we can improve the traditional call-in show format,” Bennett explains. “We’ve got some interesting ideas around each of those, and for clients who need more custom solutions, we’d love to explore that with them too.”

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