ADOTAS – After a long summer of trying to care about Major League Baseball, I was absolutely thrilled by the return of professional football this weekend — highlighted by my hometown Washington Redskins delivering a second-half thumping to the New York Giants. (I root for my current city’s other team because they’re not divisional rivals to the red and gold.)
Although the game was pretty exciting, during the lulls in action I found myself heading to ESPN.go.com on my iPhone and checking out the stats across the league. (How could Cam Newton kick so much ass and still not get the Carolina Panthers a victory?)
Sporting events — especially American ones because they tend to have a lot of pauses — have become model venues for the multi-screen experience as viewers keep one eye on the TV while browsing supplementary content on an Internet-connected device. Not surprising, content producers and marketers alike are interested in how to spur and monetize such engagement by synching the two screens.
“We get it — consumers are multitasking,” comments KIT Digital EVP of Marketing Gannon Hall, who authored a prescient piece on online video for Adotas last year. “I’ve noticed I do it with my iPad, looking up stuff while I watch TV. The issue is that my device and the TV aren’t connected, but the tech is there. So let’s use it to synchronize experience and discover how consumers use both devices at once.”
Enter KIT’s Social TV platform, which debuted last Friday at the IBC 2011 conference. The solution enables TV content producers to link second-screen companion content and applications designed to enhance the viewing experience. For starters, apps could be real-time supplementary guides that include social media streams and even ecommerce functionalities.
However, it’s the marketing aspects that seem most exciting: imagine a TV commercial that syncs with a mobile device application to deliver targeted advertising based on profile information.
“Bringing social experiences from the Internet to the TV in the living room is not just creating opportunities for user activity,” Hall adds. “There are big revenue opportunities there too.”
The Social TV platform is part of a slew of recent announcements hailing the integration of KIT’s many acquisitions made earlier this year, including mobile publishing software developer Kyte, social app and widget builder KickApps, multichannel video asset manager Kewego and video asset manager Ioko. As CEO Kaleil Isaza Tuzman explained when KIT began this shopping spree, the goal was to build end-to-end online and mobile video management solutions for medium-sized and enterprise clients.
Thus, the KIT Video Platform has emerged as a tool for broadcasters, content owners and network operators to manage optimal video delivery across Internet platforms and connected devices — from online video players to Internet-connected television to mobile devices.
The service — for smaller content producers and distributors looking for a straightforward and simple entry into the broadband video space, KIT Cloud is the turnkey, cloud-based offering probably most up their alley. KIT Cosmos, on the hand, is a customizable and modular solution for delivery of broadcast-worthy IPTV and multiscreen initiatives through “hybrid” cloud and managed private cloud deployments.
In addition, the platform allows publishers to monetize their video inventory with flexible advertising, pay-per-view and subscription based models, while supporting the integration of third-party ad platforms and standard formats. There’s even support for live video streaming.
Clients can further build linked social initiatives such as forums, widgets and social network add-ons. Launched in tandem is the KIT Connected Device Framework, which includes an SDK for enabling multiscreen initiatives across Internet-connected devices as well as app templates.