frog design Develops Twitter-Powered Two-Screen Social/Interactive TV App for the iPhone/iPod touch

tvChatter iPhone Application Demo

--Endemol Said to Be Working on Twitter App

frog design--a 40-year-old San Francisco-based company which describes itself as "a global innovation firm" that "works with the world's leading companies, helping them to create and bring to market meaningful products, services, and experiences" and which says it maintains a staff of "more than 400 designers, technologists, strategists, and analysts (its clients include Disney, GE, HP, Logitech, Microsoft, MTV and Yahoo!)--contacted [itvt] last week to let us know about a new, Twitter-powered two-screen social/interactive TV application that it recently launched for the Apple iPhone/iPod touch.

Dubbed tvChatter and available in the App Store free of charge, the application is billed as enabling a social and interactive TV viewing experience by presenting users with real-time Twitter conversations associated with a range of popular primetime TV shows. While watching a show on their TV or PC, the company says, users can simultaneously follow relevant streaming commentary about that show via a tweet stream on their iPhone or iPod touch. And, if they have their own Twitter account, they can participate in the commentary by replying to comments and posting their own. The app also allows them to filter their followers in order to have what frog design calls a "more intimate" conversation with their friends. "Research has shown that people are multi-tasking more than ever while watching TV," frog design chief development officer, Mark Gauger, said in a prepared statement. "They are having conversations on IM, Facebook, and Twitter about the shows they love. With tvChatter, we're building on this existing behavior, taking it even further to engage TV viewers with social media that helps them connect with others and easily share their experience."

The app comes with what frog design calls a "social programming guide" that lists popular TV shows and tvChatter events. According to the company, a tvChatter event is an opportunity to interact with a special guest who is scheduled to appear in the tweet stream. The guide contains a featured listing, the company says, and may also change periodically depending on TV programming seasons, special televised events and requests from users. NBC has partnered with frog design for the launch of the app, and that network's programming is featured prominently in its guide.

frog design claims that the new app offers significant benefits to broadcast and cable networks, as well as advertisers. Among other things, it claims that the real-time nature of Twitter presents them with an opportunity to connect with TV audiences in different ways, keeping those audiences engaged for longer durations during a new episode. "An engaged audience is much more likely to see and eventually participate in television advertising," Mike Goos, frog design's director of product management, said in a prepared statement. "In addition to the real-time TV value, tvChatter supports time-shifted viewing. Several of our beta users created viewing parties around programming provided via Hulu."

A demo video of tvChatter is embedded above.

In related news: During the recent 140conf conference in London, Endemol's community manager, Jonathan Almond, revealed that the company is working on a Twitter application, provisionally entitled Tweemote, according to a report by Mic Wright in Electric Pig. Almond told attendees that the app will give users access to a TV schedule, allowing them to select a program they want to tweet about. Then, according to Wright's report, "all the tweets users then send with Endemol's Tweemote will have a hashtag added to allow everyone using the app to watch the stream of babble about that program."

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