Recently, a couple of young companies unveiled technology that connects social media with TV, and these start-ups now are garnering the attention of more established pay-TV players.
San Francisco-based Miso says its social-TV app for iPhone and Android, which synchronizes social sites with television viewing, now is available to DirecTV subscribers. Miso’s second-screen technology takes advantage of the ability of DirecTV’s HD set-top boxes to communicate with mobile apps over the customer’s home network.
Miso’s free app shows subscribers what’s on TV and, as they switch the TV channel, the content on their personal devices changes with it. The app allows the user to share what he or she is watching on TV via a Facebook or Twitter account.
According to Miso CEO/Co-Founder Somrat Niyogi, his company is founded on the premise that television viewing has evolved from "sit, stare and sell ads" to viewers multitasking and operating other electronic devices while watching TV.
"Sixty percent of TV viewers today are checking email, texting – directly related to what they’re watching," he adds.
For Miso’s app to work, the subscriber’s Apple or Android device must be on the same Wi-Fi network as is the DirecTV Internet-enabled receiver. Somrat says not all DirecTV customers have an Internet enabled set-top, but newer subs generally do. "The receiver is connected to the Internet," he says. "Usually, the iPhone is connected to the same local area network. Using some open and proprietary methods, we capture a signal, which DirecTV sends."
Noted DirecTV CTO Romulo Pontual in a statement, "As mobile increasingly becomes the go-to device in everyone’s home, integrating it into the consumer’s TV viewing habits is becoming as natural as working a TV remote.”
In separate but related social media/TV convergence news, Motorola Mobility has invested in Ooyala, a provider of online video management, analytics and personalization. Founded in 2007, Ooyala’s solutions include Ooyala Everywhere that delivers professional video across mobile devices, connected TVs and browsers.
Just yesterday, Ooyala unveiled Ooyala Social, a new HD-quality social-TV experience designed to let Facebook users share video with their friends and family, live chat while viewing, discover new content, and watch video across multiple screens and devices.
“Facebook is becoming an increasingly important distribution channel for media companies,” said Bismarck Lepe, president/products and co-founder at Ooyala. "We expect more and more companies to follow the lead of Warner Brothers, Miramax and Netflix as they build direct to consumer video distribution models on Facebook."