SBJ/July 14-20, 2014/Media

OneTwoSee hooks up with LG, Bloomberg for connected TV app

OneTwoSee, a Philadelphia-based startup provider of second-screen experiences for sports, has launched with TV manufacturer LG Electronics and Bloomberg Sports a connected TV experience that blends live video with stats, scores, analytics and other data.

In the initiative, first mentioned earlier this year at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a traditional second-screen companion experience is blended with TV without any overlays or other opaque elements blocking the picture. 

How viewers watch a game on the Bloomberg Sports app

OneTwoSee developed the connected TV application, while Bloomberg Sports will provide the data and analytics. The app will carry the Bloomberg Sports brand name.

The free app was slated to be available late last week through LG’s SmartWorld app store. It will be supported by sales of advertising units that will run within the app. 

Many sports properties have been interested for several years in developing connected TV experiences, but the concept to date has been hampered by factors including poor marketing, confusing user interfaces and a general clunkiness to some offerings. OneTwoSee executives, however, see the new effort with LG and Bloomberg as an improvement, and the product will be promoted in part through other Bloomberg Sports ventures.

“This is sort of like watching sports as if it were being shown on CNBC,” said Chris Reynolds, OneTwoSee chief executive. “Instead of constantly looking down to a tablet or phone, we think there’s a lot of value to having all that relevant data and content there on one primary screen.”

Bloomberg Sports President Bill Squadron agreed, saying this effort represents one of the first fully fledged manifestations of a smart TV experience.

“We think this takes companion content to the next level,” Squadron said. “After all the hype around smart TV and connected TV, we think this is really a convergence of all the pieces. And now the foundation is there for all sorts of interactivity.”

The app is starting with Major League Baseball games, but plans are developing to expand the offering this fall to cover other sports, including football. The app is presented without any formal relationships to pro or collegiate leagues and, instead, is essentially a third-party data service operating in concert with live games.

“This is a bit of a departure for us, combining TV with a data-driven experience like this,” said Matt Durgin, LG Electronics director of North American smart TV content partnerships. “It’s definitely a new way of doing things, but we felt this was too big of an opportunity to pass up.” 

The Bloomberg Sports app is also part of a broader strategy by LG to offer an environment more like that for mobile apps on its smart TVs, in part through the webOS platform it bought from Hewlett-Packard Co. 

Market research firm Strategy Analytics said 76 million smart TVs with this kind of functionality were shipped globally last year, up 55 percent from 2012 and one-third of all flat-panel television sales. That percentage is projected to grow to 73 percent of all flat-panel sales by 2017.

Three-year-old OneTwoSee is projecting to be at 20 full-time employees by year’s end, more than triple the six employees in place a year ago, and profitability is projected for late this year. 

The company continues to work with several television outlets, including Fox Sports, NBC and Canada’s TSN, on various interactive experiences, including more traditional statistics and score-tracker products for online and mobile platforms.

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