July 09--It seems reality TV fans haven't needed much of an incentive to dish about their favorite stars' antics on "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta."
That has helped drive growth for Zeebox, a maker of second-screen TV technology, which recently launched its TV Rooms feature for users to comment and post about their favorite shows and characters using their smartphones and tablets.
Now Zeebox is trying to give viewers even more reason to participate in the daily gabfest by having them compete for cash prizes.
The company is offering $10,000 for whoever creates the best "room." Zeebox is also giving away $1,000 a day over 30 days for the best comments, posts and other contributions.
"This is to reward innovation by fans," said Zeebox Executive Vice President Jason Forbes. "One of the biggest frustrations is there isn't a natural home for people who are passionate for a show. 'TV Rooms' is built, from the DNA upwards, specifically for TV, to bring to life what you're watching."
Shows that will create official rooms include NBC's "America's Got Talent" and "Days of our Lives," E!'s "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," VH1's "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta" and MTV's "Catfish: The TV Show."
NBC News' "Meet the Press" will also have a room.
"The new Zeebox TV Rooms provide a great forum for our viewers to share and discuss what's happening on the screen and continue the conversation after the show ends," Vivian Schiller, senior vice president and chief digital officer at NBC News, said in a statement.
The company introduced the new social feature about a month ago on its app to create a specific platform for fans to comment on their shows or topics. TV buffs can create their own virtual rooms.
The feature is increasing the time users spend using Zeebox's service. The average time spent on the platform per day has risen 30% since the feature's launch, and among Zeebox users, people who use the rooms are much more active than those who don't, the company said.
The company is pushing the new service as a more communal experience than regular social media such as Twitter, where commentary about TV shows can get lost in the crowd.
The company said NBC's singing contest "The Voice" has generated more than 300 rooms, the company said. NBCUniversal was one of the first media companies to partner with Zeebox on its U.S. launch.
"The whole point is to have a personalized social experience," Forbes said. "You I and could both be watching 'The Voice,' but we watch it for different reasons. Some may watch it for the banter between he hosts, some watch it for the up-coming talent story."
So far, 10,000 rooms have been created, including official ones for the shows. The official "The Voice Room" got about 10,000 members by the show's June 18 season finale.
NBC's Bravo used the Zeebox TV room to try to heighten anticipation for the 100th episode of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" on June 24.
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