New York -- With dozens of show-specific second screen apps
fighting for consumers' attention, Zeebox is aiming to be the Swiss Army knife
of them all, integrating discovery, social, information, interactivity and
commerce for any show a viewer wants to watch.
"For the vast majority of U.S. consumers, when you
change channels, it's an enormous ask to expect consumers to fire up that app
for every show each time they change channels," said Jason Forbes,
executive VP/general manager, Zeebox USA at B&C/Multichannel News'
Advanced Advertising event here Tuesday afternoon.
Forbes believes Zeebox's compatibility across shows is also
an attractive sell for advertisers.
"Most advertisers want simplicity. The same is going to
apply to the second screen as well," he said. "What makes Zeebox
attractive is it's the same ad units across multiple shows."
Zeebox can also synchronize advertising content on the main
screen -- your television set -- with the second screen to target creative that
way, instead of advertisers spending large amounts of money and investment to
have multiple types of creative for multiple audience segments on linear TV. It
also keeps those TV ads clean of EBIF content that can be distracting.
"Most advertisers don't love the thought of a big
bulking third overlay going on the main screen," Forbes said. "Zeebox
allows the ad to be as nature intended it."
Though Zeebox only launched in the U.S. about six weeks ago,
on Sept. 27, it already counts Comcast, Viacom and NBCUniversal as equity
partners and is "getting very close to a nice round number" of
downloads, according to Forbes, though he wouldn't specify that number.
Zeebox is also seeing an average engagement length of 30
minutes, meaning users aren't just using the app for discovery, but watching
their show with it, which Forbes said "points toward a very compelling
Forbes said that programmers, distributors and advertisers
believe the second screen has huge potential because of its ability to drive
live viewership and reduce the purchase funnel -- "it's a potentially very
large industry" -- though he doesn't believe that second screen apps like
Zeebox will replace traditional TV advertising.
"Does this beat linear TV advertising? Absolutely
not," he said. "We see this as being a great complement to linear