Are you one of millions who live tweets the #Olitz saga come ScandalThursdays? Constantly refreshing Instagram for up-to-the-minute Game of Thrones memes? If you’re a die-hard television fanatic, then you know that the show never stops. So does Beamly.
Formerly Zeebox, Beamly’s new, free app offers a way for “stars, program-makers, superfans and journalists” to engage in the world of social TV, before, during, and after the credits roll. In addition to offering live-chat functionality of Zeebox’s past, Beamly now promises a “24/7 content experience” complete with chat rooms for virtual water cooler discussions, hosted by TV personalities, influencers, and fans.
Glam spoke with executive Jason Forbes to learn about the Zeebox-Beamly transition, the app’s new partnership with YouTube, and how Bravo rules Beamly buzz.
Q: What incited the Zeebox team to rebrand and relaunch as Beamly?
A: Over the course of the last 12 months, in particular, our audience, the people who use the app on a daily basis, have continued to skew younger, and more female. As of now, more than 60 percent of our audience is under 35 and female. The rebrand is focused on better serving that segment.
Q: Thanks to social networks, especially Twitter, we already see a lot of conversation being generated around popular television shows. How does Beamly add value to that interaction?
A: Twitter does a great job from a scale perspective. But for many people that are passionate about TV, the lack of contextual relevance makes it very challenging. If I tweet to my followers, “I can’t believe Lisa just [did something],” it means nothing to the vast majority of people who follow me on Twitter. Whereas, if I do that in Beamly, because we’ve built communities around specific TV shows, it’s got 100 percent contextual relevance, because every other fan in that room knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Q: What shows or types of shows have you seen stimulate the most engagement on the app?
A: Per genre, there are very different behaviors. For a heavy drama like a Game of Thrones or a Mad Men, for example, all of the conversation tends to be before and after the show; during the show, it’s almost like it’s flatlining because people are so intensely watching the show itself. Whereas, for other things like competitive, reality, or comedy, the social conversations tend to continue when the show is on. Generally, shows that have a lot of social buzz, driven by the audience that watches that show, tend to be younger-skewing, or female-skewing. Think of networks like Bravo, Oxygen, E!, MTV, and others.
Q: You guys are also teaming up with YouTube, a streaming service that was once thought to actually take consumers away from television set and onto the Internet. What is the Beamly-YouTube partnership all about?
A: More than 100 different TV tastemakers have joined our TV Room communities. What we’ve found is that users who follow a TV show in Beamly tend to use Beamly twice as much. So, the number of users per week doubles. But, users who follow another user, or follow a star in Beamly, their usage goes up by 9x, to literally 21 times per week. You see this evolution where people were using Zeebox before, maybe three or four times per week when their favorite TV show is on, to now using Beamly three to four times per day. The reason why they’re doing that is because it’s an unbelievably easy way to connect with other fans, but also now, to connect with stars as well. YouTube stars like Tyler Oakley, LaToya Forever, Kalel Cullen, Saywer Hartman... have millions of followers. What we’re going to be doing is setting up a profile, in Beamly, and have them join TV rooms of shows that they watch... They’ll be available to chat with fans while actually watching those TV shows.
Convinced of Beamly’s tailor-made, social TV model? Download the app, free, for iOS and Android, and keep the conversation going.