Broadband Video Site Spawns ‘Social TV’

Long-form online video provider MediaZone has introduced a platform, called Social TV, that marries its video content with social features like ratings, blogs and chat.

Additionally, the company will enhance its programming to five channels, including sports, entertainment, lifestyle, international, and news and information. Each channel is further divided into sub-channels, including specific sports, international countries and regions, and news categories. Due to the geographic range of its offerings, some content will be geo-blocked, or time-delayed, by region to honor licensing and clearance agreements in each local market.

Two players, one Web-based and the other a downloadable application, will be available for users, who must register to use them. The social elements are primarily available in the Web-based player. Chat windows are available for viewers during live streams, as are ratings, comments, blogs and other tools. The social aspect is intended to create a social network and drive community around the channels and sub-channels.

“Our main focus in distributing media to users is to enable social networks to form around professionally-produced media… fundamentally changing the TV experience,” said Mariana Danilovic, VP of business development at MediaZone.

Sponsorship and targeted ad units will run alongside the social features, and video ads will also run in-stream. “Some of our competitors are trying to invent new models,” said Danilovic. “We are taking an already successful model and bringing it online, it works faster than unproven ground.”

The company will use an outside ad sales team that currently sells advertising for major TV distributors, but has yet to hire that group. Future plans include geo-targeting and an auction model for selling media.

The platform requires the use of Internet Explorer version 6.0 or greater. It was introduced today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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