Interactive TV News Round-Up (VIII): Visiware, Yahoo!, Anthony E. Zuiker, zeebox, Vestel

-- Visiware Launches Facebook Game

-- Yahoo! Taps "CSI" Creator, Anthony E. Zuiker, to Produce Online Movie with Interactive Elements

-- zeebox to Integrate its Social-TV Platform with Vestel's Connected TV's

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on The TV of Tomorrow Show 2012, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format.

  • Visiware, a company best known for its interactive TV games and its PlayAlong second-screen solution, has unveiled a Facebook party game called "Blitz Dobble" (or "Blitz Spot It" in the US). "Released in 2009 as a board game, 'Dobble' is a truly addictive memory game combining speed, reflexes, observation, and fun," the company states in its press materials. "Its fun and simple rules, consisting of finding matching symbols in two stacks of cards, have already made it a genuine classic, and explain its increasing success year after year. 'Blitz Dobble' does not depart from this basic rule. Visiware game designers have successfully reproduced the 'Dobble' universe while adding great new features. The player can enter a fantastic 'Journey mode' and travel through 20 more and more difficult levels, while earning virtual currency, power-ups, and new features along the way. Gamers wanting to compete against their friends can also enter the Weekly Tournament, with its exciting and challenging 'Survival mode.' On top of the Adventure and Tournament modes, 'Blitz Dobble' has added a great new feature: the Eye Q calculation (Eye Quotient). The Eye Q is to the eye what IQ is to intelligence. For the first time, it is possible to compare your visual prowess with that of your friends, and have fun in the process. The game also benefits from all the social features of the Facebook platform and best-of-breed implementation of Open Graph."
  • Yahoo! and Dare to Pass, the production company of "CSI" franchise creator, Anthony E. Zuiker, have announced plans to produce a movie--entitled "Cybergeddon" and centered on "the growing threat of cybercrime as a new form of terrorism"--that will be released on Yahoo!'s Web site and that will apparently feature a range of immersive, social-media and gaming elements. "'Cybergeddon' will be launching globally, first on Yahoo! this fall, as a series of installments to roll out sequentially," the companies state in their press materials. "With Yahoo!'s distribution, 'Cybergeddon' will engage audiences worldwide through an immersive storytelling, social-media, and gaming experience. Yahoo! sets the bar for best-in-class original video programming with 21 out of the top 25 most-watched online series in the US and 61 million unique visitors a month who come to watch Yahoo! video. We also have the unmatched ability to promote video content to 700 million users worldwide."
  • zeebox, the second-screen social-TV company that was co-founded by former BBC iPlayer chief, Anthony Rose, and that recently appointed Time Warner Cable Media veteran, Jason Forbes, to head up its US operations in advance of a planned US launch later this year (see the article published on, March 16th), on Wednesday announced an integration partnership with consumer electronics manufacturer, Vestel. "The two companies will jointly develop a synchronized TV viewing experience delivered on Vestel-manufactured TV's and smartphones and tablets running the zeebox application," zeebox states in its press materials. "Through this partnership, consumers will be able to remote control Vestel TV's directly from their zeebox app running on tablets and smartphones, buy products they see advertised on TV, create viewing parties with friends, and more. This feature is just the beginning of closer synchronization between connected TV's and the Web, and represents an innovative step forward in enabling connected TV's to become social and interactive." Said Vestel's head of marketing, Hakan Kutlu: "We would like to offer smart-TV users a more social, interactive experience when watching live TV. The advantages of providing connection to the zeebox social network synchronized with the TV allows us to become part of that world, and makes it a greater experience. By partnering with zeebox, the leading UK-based application on PC, smartphone and tablet for social TV, we will be able to offer to our OEM partners a social TV-enabled platform out of the box, creating a great interactive experience for consumers." Added zeebox CTO, Rose: "Our users tell us that they love the way zeebox can act as a next-gen remote control for their TV's and set-top boxes. Our partnership with Vestel will take this to the next level, providing two-way synchronization between your TV and zeebox. As you change channels on your TV, zeebox will be able to automatically bring you a social and interactive experience linked to what you're watching. And when you're trying to decide what to watch, instead of just clicking through a list of channels, you'll be able to see which ones are the most popular right now, watch with friends, buzz friends to come watch with you."
North America