Advanced Advertising: Zeebox Aims to Build One Second Screen App to Rule Them All

Forbes: App’s Simplicity, Synchronization, Measurement are Attractive to Advertisers

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, its 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 monetization story.”

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 advertising.”