Starling: new social TV platform to revolutionize TV viewing

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 

Co-viewing on social media platform connects the audience to shows, sponsors and each other

CANNES — MIPTV — Starling, a new social TV platform that connects TV audiences and integrates them with broadcast media, launches its first version today. Designed for mobile devices, tablet computers and the web, it provides viewers with a platform to chat, play, and interact – around a show, and with each other.

Starling builds on the emergent trend of “co-viewing,” which generates active social media chatter when fans of a show gather online. It connects fans with other fans of the show, and friends to what their friends are watching. Users engage each other around the shows they already enjoy, and discover new shows through the social graph.

“Viewers will be able to use Starling to scan comments from friends and other fans of the show, in sync with the TV broadcast. Watching a show becomes a social activity, where the audience becomes aware of the audience. It’s like a real-time watercooler,” says Kevin Slavin, President of Starling.

Starling builds the experience by sorting popular comments, and comments from the viewer’s friends. Comments that appeal to the viewer can be voted upon. Voting is simple. Viewers tap the screen to “star” a comment and viewers with well-received comments are awarded points in a global scoring system.

For production companies and broadcast organisations, Starling retains viewers by deepening their relationship to a TV show and activates the audience, turning fans into participants. It encourages viewers to discover new TV shows through their social network.

For sponsors and advertisers, Starling delivers a new layer for broadcast, creating a new channel for companies looking for turnkey solutions to effectively use social media.

“Within social media, the conversations around broadcast entertainment are some of the loudest and broadest we experience. Starling provides a structure for these conversations. Following years of development in network television, we can now offer everyone the opportunity to interact and comment in real time. This is good news for everyone, especially the audience,” says Kevin Slavin, President of Starling.

The Early Access Program offers Staring partners the opportunity use the Starling TV platform pre-release.

The fledgling operation has already received endorsements from industry giants. From production, one of the world’s largest creators of prime-time entertainment, FremantleMedia, and from advertising, one of the most trusted and storied advertising agencies, JWT of the WPP group.

FremantleMedia joins EAP: “Starling’s Early Access Program provides us with the opportunity to explore new channels to connect with our audience, which extends Fremantle’s legacy in doing so for many years. Emergent behaviors in social media are building a new and connected audience, and we look forward to the ways that Starling could help Fremantle to amplify, augment and engage this trend,” says Gary Carter, COO FremantleMedia Group. ‘

JWT also joins the EAP on the advertising side: “We are very excited to be a part of Starling’s Early Access Program. Our clients already know that social media plays a crucial role in their communications and they are quickly becoming aware of its potent relationship with broadcast media. Having the ability to build a turn-key solution that creates a bridge between TV and social media while finding dynamic ways to weave in brand experiences is of paramount importance,” says David Rosenberg, Director of Emerging Media at JWT.

The team behind Starling are leading executives from game development, advertising, broadcast and production. The Starling team – Declan Caulfield, CEO; Kevin Slavin, President; and Kenny Miller, Director of Americas – will all be at MIPTV to give a keynote speech, participate in panels, hold individual press interviews and meet with partners.

Kevin Slavin’s keynote speech, “Next Generation Audience Engagement”, takes place at MIPTV on Thursday, 15 April, at 9.45-10.30 in Auditorium A. He will also be speaking at the panel session “Will social media drive mainstream media?” on Tuesday, 13 April, at 14.30-15.45 in the Esterel room.