Internet media delivery company RealNetworks announced today it provided a strategic investment to San Francisco-based startup ClipSync. The amount of the investment was undisclosed, but peHUB has learned it was under $5 million. ClipSync, which allows users to create social viewing rooms for video and TV content, has raised about $750,000 from KPG Partners. The company was co-founded by CEO Itzik Cohen, who was an early employee at WebEx Communications, which Cisco Systems bought for $3.2 billion in 2007.
RealNetworks Announces Investment in its “SuperPass” VIPSocial TV Partner, ClipSync
• Gearing up for launch of the new season of CBS’ BIG BROTHER on SuperPass with enhanced social offerings
• Offering new initiatives to help reality TV shows further engage with fans, extend and monetize premium always-on content
SEATTLE and SAN FRANCISCO– JULY 11, 2011–RealNetworks, Inc. (NASDAQ: RNWK) today announced an investment in ClipSync, the pioneer in social video and audience engagement. For the second consecutive year, ClipSync is the exclusive viewer engagement platform for SuperPass, the online video and VIP premium programming service from RealNetworks. Details of the investment were not disclosed.
The SuperPass subscription service offers reality TV show fans VIP access to live video, exclusive behind-the-scenes, uncut, unaired, unedited content and interactive community features. The foundation of this service is a partnership with CBS tied to the long-running television series BIG BROTHER.
The new season of BIG BROTHER premieredJuly 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Premium users with a RealNetworksSuperPass membership have exclusive access to live streaming video from inside the BIG BROTHER house and access to hours of new content over the summer season. Fans also can participate in community viewing and conversation, audience voting, content sharing, trivia, and games, all seamlessly integrated through ClipSync.
In 2010, RealNetworks began partnering with ClipSync — a venture-backed company whose social TV platform has been adopted by a host of major media companies, publishers and producers — to bring an enhanced social media experience to its SuperPass subscribers. RealNetworks and ClipSync are actively working to extend this social TV platform to other shows with passionate broadcast and online audiences who desire exclusive digital content and an entirely new social connection to the shows and characters they follow.
“SuperPass brings content and conversation together for the passionate reality TV fans who crave more ways to interact with their favorite shows, and other fans like them,” said Michael McMurray, General Manager of Content Services at RealNetworks. “For entertainment and production companies, we are providing new ways to further engage their large and loyal fan bases while extending and monetizing their brands.”
“We both share a very clear vision for the future of video content and television. Immersing the viewer as part of the content is as big as moving from black and white to color” said Itzik Cohen, CEO and founder of ClipSync. “SuperPass combined with our social TV platform provides an incredible foundation to generate incremental views to on-air programming, increased audience engagement and user retention – all while delivering new and incremental revenue streams for the content owners.”
Find SuperPass here: http://www.superpass.real.com
RealNetworks creates innovative applications and services that make it easy for people to connect with and enjoy digital media. RealNetworks invented the streaming media category and continues to connect consumers with their digital media both directly and through partners, aiming to support every network, device, media type and social network. Corporate information is located at http://www.realnetworks.com/about-us
ClipSync is the leading social video and audience engagement company. Through its exclusive media and network partnerships, ClipSync’s audience engagement platform enables fans to participate with online video and broadcast content in entirely new social ways, such as community viewing, audience voting, content sharing, trivia, and games. Over 50 networks worldwide, including CBS, Starz, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Showtime, Nickelodeon, and the Home Shopping Network, have generated over 200 million unique social viewing experiences for their fans utilizing ClipSync. Founded in 2008, ClipSync has offices in New York and San Francisco.