Major Broadcasters Ink Social Network Deal

Looking to raise their digital awareness with the rise of social media, 10 major local broadcast TV groups have made a long-term deal with ConnecTV, a free real-time social network.

ConnecTV allows viewers to interact with other fans watching the same program, while providing related content and promotions synced with programs being viewed. It will launch in early 2012.

As part of the commercial agreement, the broadcasters's local advertising inventory appear within ConnecTV. In addition, a number of the broadcasters have made an undisclosed investment in ConnecTV.

The broadcast groups include: Barrington Broadcasting Group, Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations and Raycom Media.

These TV groups own 201 stations made up of ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CW and WB affiliates in 45 of the nation's top 50 markets. They cover 76 million TV homes.

Nine of the 10 broadcast groups had previously formed a digital TV venture named Pearl, which, as part of this partnership, which will look to expand the base of participating local broadcasters for ConnecTV.

Alan Frank, president and CEO of Post-Newsweek Stations, stated, on behalf of Pearl: "We looked long and hard for a partner that could create a compelling environment that would encourage, enhance and monetize [America's TV] dialogue, even during live programs including news coverage or sporting events -– and we found it at ConnecTV."

ConnecTV was founded by interactive television veterans Ian Aaron, former president of Gemstar-TV Guide and CEO of TVN Entertainment; Alan Moskowitz, former senior engineer at MobiTV and member of the founding engineering team at TiVo; and Stacy Jolna, former GM of TV Guide OnDemand (TV Guide SPOT) and chief programming officer and founding executive team member of TiVo.

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