I spent the morning at a presentation given by InMobi and Mobext to deliver the results of their survey looking at Tablet usage. Or at least that’s what I thought I was going to. In fact, there was other equally interesting fare on offer too.
Most of the findings from the survey are contained in the post we put up this morning, but there were some additional snippets that came out of the session. 12 per cent of Brits now own Tablets (for ‘Tablets’ read ‘iPads’. Seriously have you ever seen anyone using a full-blown Tablet that’s not an iPad, I haven’t.) In the seven months to January 2012, there was a 72 per cent growth in the UK, and this shows no sign of slowing, particularly given the growing trend of families buying second iPads to stop arguments over using the first one. Forget Second Screening, this is Second Tableting. The InMobi/Mobext study found that one third of non-Tablet owners plan to buy one in the next six months.
But it was when Ernesto Schmitt, who co-founded Zeebox along with BBC iPlayer developer Anthony Rose, took to the stage, that things really got interesting. Zeebox is one of those apps that has been in my peripheral vision for a few months. I have heard good things about it, a Second Screening app that makes the experience of watching TV much more fulfilling, is probably the best summary.
But as Schmitt described what Zeebox did, the power of the platform became crystal clear. There’s a ton of social stuff around knowing who else among your circle of friends, or celebrity Zeebox users for those who get off of that sort of thing – are watching what you are watching. And of course being able to interact with them in real time.
The most interesting part for me, though, was the mCommerce power of the Zeebox platform. In essence, Zeebox’s technology extracts information about the content of the programme you're watching and presents it in the app in real time. So if you’re watching a programme in which Tom Cruise appears, his name will appear as a tag in the app. Click on it and you will get links to everything you ever wanted to know and more about Tom Cruise. Neat.
Now let’s imagine you’re watching a programme about photography, and a particular camera is mentioned. Now the camera appears as a Zeebox tag in the app. Click on the tag and it will bring up information about the camera, including reviews, and of course, links to places where you can buy it. So a link to an Amazon listing could move you from seeing the product in a TV programme to buying it, in two clicks. Not so much as purchase funnel as an open door, from the comfort of your own sofa. The TV programme becomes, in effect, an unpaid affiliate channel, or at least that's how it seems to me.
You’ll hear a lot more about Zeebox in the weeks and months to come, with at least one of the stories involving a rather large number and the mention of Google, Amazon, Facebook or, as Alan Partridge would say “one of that lot”. Sky already has a 10 per cent stake in the firm.
There was a Q&A session at the end of the event. There was only one question I wanted to ask: “How do I stop my wife and kids finding out about this app?” If ever they do, I’ll never get my hands on my iPad again, and don’t even ask about my bank balance.