Zeebox announced this week that it’s rebranding itself as Beamly to signify that the UK-based social TV app is evolving from a simple second screen app to a full-service content network. The app’s new version still features the same screen sync technology and live-chat functions that came with Zeebox, but hopes to be more relevant to users even while their show isn’t on.
In order to make the app that much more useful, Beamly has a wider array of content and more robust social functionality, which includes social threads, and news feeds about favorite TV shows so that viewers can engage with others, read other viewers’ reactions, and discuss topics once an episode has ended.
“A lot has happened in the evolution of social TV since we launched two years ago,” said Zeebox GM Jason Forbes. “We’ve seen our audience skew younger, with more than 60 percent of our audience now female and under 35. That demographic is a lot more social and wants more than a second screen app and TV guide, which is what we initially launched. They want a 24/7 social and content network for TV and that’s exactly what we’ve evolved to become.”
Beamly encourages users to follow their favorite shows, actors, and fellow users before it can supply them with a news and activity feed and TV recommendations. Its existing TV guide, though, is still a major part of the app. Each show will have its own “TV room” where viewers can discuss the show throughout the day–not just while it’s on–and participate when the show is live with polls, games, and other activities.
“We had a dream which was to create participation TV: instead of just sitting and watching, you would interact with the show. But to build that, we needed a TV guide so you could find shows and sort the guide by what was popular and buzzing,” Anthony Rose, Zeebox chief technology officer, told The Guardian prior to Beamly’s relaunch.
Beamly is more than a reaction to the topographical shits that mobile technology makes to nearly anything it touches, it’s an adaptation. Rose went on to say that, “We’ve morphed our original proposition into something where you can now snack at any time of day: in the morning, you might open the app and get news and gossip on your favorite shows or actors, chat about the last episode, and start planning your evening’s viewing. Then in the evening, it might be a synchronous experience.”
“I’ve been doing this for 23 years, and in all that time television has always been a social event, so this doesn’t surprise me at all,” explains Robert Wallace, President at Remotes.com.