Australia’s Network Ten has partnered with UK-based Zeebox, in a move that will see the second-screen TV app maker launch in the country later this year.
Zeebox has set up a new Australian subsidiary to manage the Oz operations, with Ten taking a “significant” stake in this business.
Zeebox remains the majority shareholder in the joint venture though financial terms were not disclosed. UK satcaster BSkyB took a 10% stake in Zeebox earlier this year.
The latest move marks Zeebox’s second international expansion, after opening a US office in March. The stateside launch is due to happen this summer, with Australia following in the third quarter of 2012. More rollouts are expected later this year.
As anchor partner in Zeebox Australia, Network Ten has committed to providing the business with “extensive promotional support and deep integration of Ten programming.”
Ten chief operating officer Jon Marquard said the launch of the app in Australia was a “key part of Network Ten’s digital media strategy.”
However, Zeebox Australia is also in active discussions with several broadcasters and content owners to let them to use the service in a similar way to reach their fans and commercialise TV viewers via the second screen.
Internet investor and entrepreneur Craig Blair will run Zeebox Australia, taking on the CEO role. A Sydney office will also have an initial editorial staff of around four. Zeebox technology will continue to be developed from the firm’s London base.
“We’ve looked carefully at the rate at which we can launch in new countries, not because of the inbound interest, but just because of the hours in the day. We want to make sure that we get it right,” Zeebox chief technology officer Anthony Rose told C21.
“I think you can expect one or more European territory later this year and you might find others as well, to be determined,” added the native Australian.
Zeebox launched in the UK in 2011. The interactive programme guide lets users share, chat and tweet about what’s on TV, access additional content and find out more information about what’s on-screen. It can also be used to click through and buy items and acts as a remote control for connected TVs.