FiOS TV has announced two new social TV services – the Widget Bazaar applications store and Internet Video on TV.
Verizon plans an open development platform to permit developers to write interactive FiOS TV applications that will be available through the Widget Bazaar.
Additionally, Verizon has worked with social media outlets Facebook Connect, Twitter, ESPN, Veoh, blip.tv, and Dailymotion to create a converged Internet-to-TV experience that lets FiOS TV subscribers connect with others while watching TV, plus search and view online videos on their TV screens.
The new Widget Bazaar applications marketplace, located within FiOS TV’s Interactive Media Guide, is launching with free Facebook, Twitter and ESPN Fantasy Football Widgets.
Through the Twitter Widget, FiOS TV subscribers can follow Tweets related specifically to the program they are watching, for example. Verizon plans to publish a Software Development Kit (SDK) to enable developers to publish applications using the programming language Lua.
"With FiOS, passive TV becomes social TV, part of the sweeping cultural shift that’s changing how people connect with one another to share ideas, information and entertainment," said Shawn Strickland, VP of marketing for Verizon Telecom.
According to a recent report by The Nielsen Company ("The Global Online Media Landscape, April 2009"), there are 87 percent more online social media users now than in 2003, with 883 percent more time devoted to social media sites. In February, social network usage exceeded Web-based e-mail usage for the first time. The same study reported that the number of American users frequenting online video destinations has climbed 339 percent since 2003, and time spent on video sites over that period increased by almost 2,000 percent.
Kurt Scherf, VP and principal analyst for Parks Associates, said in a statement: "Once again, Verizon is at the innovation forefront with this first-of-its-kind integration of interactive social multimedia into the FiOS TV platform. And, because the major cable TV companies have yet to say when they’ll be able to deliver these capabilities, FiOS TV will be the only provider to offer these exciting new features for the foreseeable future."