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TV Stations To Launch Social Media With ConnecTV

LOS ANGELES: More than 200 TV stations across the country plan to launch cross-platform social media networking with the help of ConnecTV. The members of the Pearl group of broadcasters—those planning to deploy Dyle mobile DTV this year—are participating.

“Television programming is driving the social media conversation, but those conversations continue to be fragmented across myriad platforms and provide little local context,” said Alan Frank, president and CEO of Post-Newsweek Stations on behalf of Pearl. “We see ConnecTV as a way for our communities to come together in a single, standardized digital extension of our broadcast platforms, and engage in dialogue around the information and entertainment most relevant to them.”

Initially, 85 local ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW and MyNetworkTV stations will be integrated with ConnecTV experience at launch with all 215 Pearl member stations to eventually be included. Pearl will coordinate deployment and content integration on the local level, and deliver cross-platform promos for the service.

Emeryville, Calif., ConnecTV launched TV-specific social media in 2010 with a selection of national broadcast and cable networks, including those listed above—which are also identified as investors in the private company.

The platform, available through a free downloadable plug-in, works across channels with live and time-shifted viewing by syncing the content with a user’s PC, laptop or iPad. ConnecTV uses a combination of content recognition algorithms, closed caption and more than 100 data sources to synchronize with TV programming. It integrates with Twitter and Facebook, and provides program-related information and quotes that can be shared among users, who can organize viewing parties and group chats. PC and iPad apps are available now. Versions for the iPhone and Android devices are expected to be available in the next 45 days, ConnecTV said.

The Pearl group consists of stations belonging to Belo, Cox, E.W. Scripps, Gannett, Hearst, Media General, Meredith, Post-Newsweek and Raycom—with a reach of 76 million households across 45 of the top 50 U.S. markets. Pearl was formed in 2010 with Fox, ION and NBC Universal, as part of the Mobile Content Venture, to develop a business and deployment plan for mobile DTV. Many TV stations across the country are already live with mobile DTV signals, but Dyle will be a branded service with its own graphic interface. MCV has said its members officially would launch the service this year, but no specific date has been announced.

Dyle itself announced a service deal with MetroPCS in January. The carrier became the first wireless service provider to agree to offer over-the-air mobile DTV. MetroPCS provides no-contract, flat-rate service to around 9.1 million subscribers. Dyle will launch as a free service on MetroPCS networks in 72 cities in 32 markets some time this year.
~ Deborah D. McAdams