Spotlight: Zeebox Rebrands to Beamly

Lots-of-coloursTV app Zeebox has rebranded as Beamly, to reflect a major change in focus.

Founded in 2011 by former iPlayer CTO Anthony Rose and EMI executive Ernesto Schmitt, Zeebox was originally pitched as a second-screen companion app, featuring interactive tie-in content, like votes and quizzes, as well as TV guide functionality and the ability to serve as a remote control for certain connected TVs.

When Mobile Marketing editor David Murphy first saw the app two years ago, he was hugely impressed by its potential as a marketing platform, enabling users to directly buy items theyve seen onscreen using their mobile.

However, Schmitt believes this was just “the initial phase of social television”, and with the Beamly rebrand, the company is hoping to focus on the apps social networking features. Its been introducing these features incrementally for a while now – TV Room forums were added to the app with the v3.0 update last year – but Beamly is hoping to draw more attention to this aspect of its offering with the new name and look.

So, why the change in focus? According to Rose, the app was initially only “embraced by a geeky male audience”. That hasnt changed much in the UK, but in the US, where Zeebox launched six months later, its audience is 62 per cent female.

This is something thats reflected in the design of the new Beamly app, which pushes the social functionality to the forefront and has built its colour palette around coral – or pink, to you and me.


Focusing on the social network aspect also has the advantage of bringing people back into the app more frequently. Currently, users who follow others use the app, on average, 21 times per week, nine times as often as those who dont follow anyone. They also use the app for an average of 500 minutes – over eight hours – per week, compared to 35 minutes for non-social users.

The idea, it seems, is to and span the entire TV experience, not just while watching a show but also in the planning that takes place before and the conversations that follow.

As with Zeebox, Beamly is available for free on iOS, Android and on the web, with a Windows Phone app on its way. For pre-existing Zeebox users, the app will automatically update to reflect the new branding.