Anthony Rose’s Social TV Startup Zeebox Is Now Live

The TV engagement product co-founded by ex BBC iPlayer chief Anthony Rose launched on Thursday evening to ride the booming trend in two-screen social TV interaction.

Zeebox, which paidContent exclusively previewed back in August, is so far available on iPad. It has gained Apple’s coveted “App Of The Week” status inside iTunes Store.

Appearing initially as a TV EPG, it shows users information, apps and further downloads about shows they are watching, creates live hyperlinks out of material discussed in shows and lets users both follow show-based social network chat and see what their friends are watching.

Taken as a package, there may be sufficient enough compelling features of Zeebox that many people will use it to stream TV shows’ Twitter hashtags rather than through other Twitter clients.

But Zeebox itself isn’t yet sure how any of this translates in to a hard business opportunity for it.

Speaking with paidContent, CEO and co-founder Ernesto Schmitt claims broadcasters and advertisers are keen to use Zeebox to drive up engagement while some TV producers are asking for their galleries to be fed Zeebox’s minute-by-minute data on TV show popularity.

But, though Zeebox will take an affiliate slice of custom it sends towards iTunes and to other downloads that relate to shows its app lists, Schmitt is non-committal on whether it will license its data back to broadcasters or sell in-app ads against corresponding moments in TV show commercial breaks, for example.

Indeed, Zeebox is a venture-funded startup. It is throwing out several interesting ideas that speak to the intersection of TV and social technology, without yet daring to fix its business in stone. For now, Rose and Schmitt just want to see good adoption.

Web, Android and iPhone versions are due later.