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TV to go social with Verizon, Facebook, Twitter, Dailymotion and more

Rachel Hawkes (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 15 July 2009

Verizon announces interactive social TV plans with application platform


Verizon to launch Internet Video, Widget Bazaar and application development platform

US wireless giant Verizon has today unveiled plans to bring the social web to the television with an open development platform and new social service for its FiOS TV service.

With the launch of two new social TV services, namely Widget Bazaar and Internet Video on TV, Verizon will enable FiOS subscribers to connect with friends and peers while watching TV.  Users will be able to connect with another through access to social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and watch video from user generated content (UGC) sites including Veoh, and Dailymotion.  These services are part of the
Verizon’s vice president of marketing Shawn Strickland explains, “With FiOS, passive TV becomes social TV, part of the sweeping cultural shift that’s changing how people connect with one another and share ideas, information and entertainment.  We’re working with some of the most popular companies on the web to create the foundation for a high-quality, engaging Internet-to-TV experience that will only expand and grow richer.”

The Widget Bazaar applications will allow users to update their Facebook status and view their friends photos and status updates.  With the Twitter widget, FiOS TV subscribers can view a stream of tweets relating to the movie, program or sporting event they are watching.  The Twitter widget will also enable users to view the trending topics of tweets for the day as well as create and save their own feeds.  Also at launch, the ESPN Fantasy Football Widget will provide instant on-screen access to fantasy football points, statistics, rosters, box scores and player information.

Veoh, and Dailymotion will be accessible through the Internet Video feature and can be searched individually or simultaneously.  Through the My Video access point users will be able to view personal videos stored on their PCs through their FiOS television sets.

Strickland pushes home the point that TVs are still the most popular entertainment source.  The UKs Ofcom Communications Market Report 2008 validates this, stating that 55% of people would miss the TV the most if it was taken away, however in the younger age bracket (16-24 year olds), 47% said they would miss the Internet more than TV (41%).  He says, “People of all ages and backgrounds are living their lives online today.  They increasingly want to expand their online lives beyond their computer to other networked devices in the home.  This especially holds true for their TVs, which remain the favourite entertainment source at home.”

Verizon’s plans for an open development platform for FiOS TV will further expand the capabilities of the Widget Bazaar service as it aims for adoption from social developers.  The company is planning to add dozens of free and transactional applications in the coming months, and will publish its software development kit (SDK), using Lua programming language, soon.

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