We went hands-on with the ConnecTV app while it was in open beta earlier this year. Now the social TV app is officially, uh, official -- launching nationwide with backing from television's old guard. Although ConnecTV doesn't double as a remote a la Dijit or BuddyTV, it does play nice with Facebook and Twitter, allowing users to socially rave about Alton Brown's cherry couscous pudding or razz followers of a rival team while watching a game on TV. ConnecTV says the app also syncs with content from Apple TV, Boxee, Hulu, Netflix and Roku from the past seven days. Do note that "nationwide" currently means integrated content from 85 local stations across the US' top 40 TV markets. ConnecTV also plans to expand that number to 215 stations. The app is available for free for PC browsers and the Apple iPad, with iPhone and Android smartphone and tablet versions set for release within the next 45 days. For more details, feel free to dip your toes into the celebratory PR after the break.
ConnecTV Launches Biggest Social TV Network Nationwide
Partnership with leading television broadcast companies to provide content and promotion
LOS ANGELES, June 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ConnecTV today announces the largest-ever rollout of a social media platform for television with backing by the leading U.S. broadcast companies. The platform synchronizes social engagement, complementary content and program promotions with television programming from any source, in any market across national cable networks, regional sports networks and local stations affiliated with ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW and MyNetworkTV. The coast-to-coast rollout establishes ConnecTV as the most dynamic and engaging social network for television viewers in the U.S.
How ConnecTV works:
ConnecTV is the only social network that works across all channels and all shows for both real-time and time-shifted television viewing.
ConnecTV delivers a rich content experience that syncs instantly with the show you're watching and delivers complementary play-by-play stats, news, information and quotes that can be shared with friends and followers-all with a single touch.
Viewers can also invite specific friends to join them for "viewing parties" and chat about their favorite shows and sporting events.
Seamless integration with Twitter and Facebook allows users to connect and organize their friends, favorite shows and social engagement all focused on TV.
ConnecTV uses a combination of content recognition algorithms, closed caption and a diverse mix of more than 100 data sources to drive the accuracy, relevancy and speed of synchronization with television programming.
ConnecTV is available as a free download for the iPad from the Apple App Store, or for any PC browser at www.connectv.com. ConnecTV will be introducing versions for the iPhone and Android smartphone and tablets in the next 45 days.
"Local engagement is at the heart of all social media, from Twitter to Facebook to Groupon," said ConnecTV Co-Founder Ian Aaron. "ConnecTV is the only social TV network with a true investment in the local viewing experience and an unparalleled strategic partnership with the leading media companies in America."
Viewers of ConnecTV on partner stations beginning with the top 40 markets will immediately receive additional social television benefits that include synchronization of local news, weather, sports and entertainment programming along with social polls. A total of 85 local ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW and MyNetworkTV stations will be integrated into the ConnecTV experience at launch with plans in place to grow to 215 stations in communities across America.
"Television programming is driving the social media conversation, but those conversations continue to be fragmented across myriad platforms and provide little local context," said Alan Frank, President and CEO of Post-Newsweek Stations on behalf of Pearl. "We see ConnecTV as a way for our communities to come together in a single, standardized digital extension of our broadcast platforms, and engage in dialogue around the information and entertainment most relevant to them."
ConnecTV partners include a consortium of nine leading U.S. television broadcast groups known as Pearl. The companies include: Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media. Together, Pearl broadcast partners represent more than 200 local ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW and MyNetworkTV affiliate stations in 45 of the top 50 markets reaching 76 million households. As part of their ConnecTV partnership, Pearl will expand and coordinate the affiliate base of participating local broadcasters, integrate local content, deliver on-air, on-screen and on-line promotions and sell complementary second screen advertising that synchronizes with the broadcast.
The combined technical capabilities of the ConnecTV platform provide a unique social and content user experience designed to transform television into a highly interactive second screen experience, in tandem with a live or time-shifted program. While all ConnecTV users will enjoy an extraordinary viewing experience, TV fans who watch along with ConnecTV's local partner stations will have the advantage of heightened benefits, including:
Social conversations sparked locally by on-air personalities and station production staff surrounding news, sports and entertainment topics of the day.
Special companion content that is synced to local broadcast news, sports and entertainment programming.
ConnecTV instant "TalkBack" social polls mirroring those on the air to increase communication with local audiences.
Relevant local marketing that is synched to television advertising spots, or engages the "viewser" in new ways that activate both national and local marketing campaigns.
Simultaneous promotions of upcoming news stories, local specials and national programming on both the main and second screens.
ConnecTV is the biggest social network designed specifically for TV fans-a "second screen" companion entertainment experience that complements the video programming delivered from Cable, Satellite, Telecom, Over-the-Air or On-Line Service providers. ConnecTV is accessible on iOS or browser-based devices. It is coming soon on Android tablets and smart phones. ConnecTV automatically connects television viewers while they watch their favorite programs and synchronizes engaging second screen content, including the latest news, celebrity information, trivia, polls and play-by-play sports stats. ConnecTV subscribers can see what TV shows their friends are watching, invite them to a "viewing party" and start a real-time conversation. ConnecTV also makes it easy to share viewers' favorite TV moments using Facebook, Twitter and email. ConnecTV has partnered with 10 leading broadcast groups, including Barrington Broadcasting Group, Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media. Several of these broadcasters – the joint venture that is Pearl – have made an undisclosed investment in ConnecTV. ConnecTV was founded by pioneering executives at the intersection of media, entertainment and technology: Ian Aaron, Alan Moskowitz and Stacy Jolna.
Pearl was founded in April 2010 by Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media with the mission to advance member company's participation in the mobile digital television space. Pearl then formed Mobile Content Venture (MCV) along with NBCU, FOX and Ion to commercialize a mobile television service that will use their stations' over-the-air spectrum to deliver TV programming directly to mobile and handheld devices. This service, named Dyle, will launch to consumers in 2012. By forming Pearl, each founding TV group underscored their individual and collective commitments to the vital extension of local broadcasting onto the mobile platform. In November 2011, Pearl announced its partnership with ConnecTV, reflecting a broadening of its charter to focus on select digital developments, in addition to mobile digital television. Together, the Pearl broadcasters reach 66 percent of the U.S. population, representing 76 million households. To learn more, please visit: www.PearlMobileDTV.com.