Zeebox, the social network-enabled second-screen app, is adding a feature called TV rooms, which the company describes as a Facebook to connect TV fans, creators and actors. Variety reports that Bravo will use the app to promote the 100th episode special of The Real Housewives of Orange County, which premieres June 24.
Over 4,000 TV Room community pages allow fans to gather and discuss shows in real time. Bravo's TV Room will go live in tandem with the Real Housewives premiere, offering online discussion with host Andy Cohen and stars Jo de la Rosa, Gretchen Rossi and Tamra Barney.
“By creating a dialogue between fans and Housewives within Zeebox during the special, we’re providing our dedicated fans with an added layer of engagement…while upholding Bravo’s commitment to pioneering cross-platform experiences for fans,” Lisa Hsia, Bravo's vp of digital, told Variety.
The U.K.-based startup Zeebox—backed by NBCUniversal, Comcast and Viacom—boasts more than 5 million app downloads globally, more than 2 million of them in the U.S. alone. The TV Rooms will allow marketers and third-party publishers to reach out to this audience by creating virtual spaces of their own.
According to Jason Forbes, executive vp of Zeebox USA, the company ultimately intends to make TV Rooms a place where actors and filmmakers can connect with audiences.
"Talent in front and behind the camera can engage with fans," Forbes told The Hollywood Reporter.
Zeebox sees the integration of video viewing and Twitter-like social chatter as a way to boost time use of the app, making it more attractive to advertisers.
“The number one request from consumers has been to further personalize their zeebox experience," Forbes said. "We're extending to richer ways to define what sort of second-screen experience people want."