Who We Represent: Meet OneTwoSee & Its CEO!
Many companies are working to change the viewer experience by marrying sports and technology, but none are doing it quite like OneTwoSee. An award-winning fan engagement technology company based out of Philadelphia, OneTwoSee provides white-labeled products to help some of the biggest names in sports—including Comcast, NBC, Yes Sports and Fox Sports—monetize their engagement. Their multi-platform software allows fans to interact with games live using the smart device of their choice. Leading this innovative Participation TV-meets-sports charge is Chris Reynolds, OneTwoSee’s CEO and co-founder. Chris, a veteran in the television industry, took time out of his busy schedule to provide some insight into the emerging Smart TV ecosystem and explain why OneTwoSee is at the forefront of the industry…
Tell us a little bit about your background.
Chris Reynolds: I’ve been hyper-focused on television, whether that’s self-delivering interactive television products to the market, selling television networks or building web-based solutions to support a multiscreen experience.
Why did you decide to start OneTwoSee?
CR: The idea was conceptualized with my partner and co-founder while we were both working for Nokia. We started contemplating new, unique ways to deliver an interactive television experience through connected devices instead of the set-top box. Traditionally, interactive television had been delivered specially through set-top boxes, but it was a really clunky and lousy environment to work in at the time. That’s changed significantly over the last couple of years and we are starting to understand the possibilities of delivering smart services via a set-top box. But going back almost five years, that industry was bogged down and there wasn’t a common platform to build against. We started thinking about how we could deliver these same types of experiences through your mobile phone (at the time tablets weren’t really available on the market) or through your PC. That’s how we started conceptualizing the idea.
And you’ve had lots of success ever since!
CR: We are extremely busy; we tripled the amount of partners we are supporting over the last year and we’re going to double the headcount this year. We are just looking forward to being able to support the market and deliver really interesting applications and services to our partners.
Why did you choose sports as OneTwoSee’s vertical?
CR: The use case has already been established. It wasn’t uncommon for sports fans to text or call each other during games, or even communicate via Facebook. We figured if you could incorporate all those attributes into one single platform and deliver them elegantly through an application it would be an interesting offering to the end user.
What are the benefits of providing a white-labeled product?
CR: By not trying to create our own consumer-facing brand, we enable our partners to deliver our products to market under their shingle and do what they are very good at—marketing and advertising. That allows us to take care of the technology and the experience. We don’t create a channel conflict in that scenario, the same way we would if we had our own consumer brand and then tried to partner with a Media Rights Holder who isn’t necessary interested in competing their audience to our brand.
How does OneTwoSee’s multi-platform approach benefit audiences?
CR: We believe that audiences who want to engage around professional sports are doing it through all screens. We look to replicate those experiences across all screens and either deliver products through responsive design or purpose-build them for each individual platform.
Do you see OneTwoSee extending its reach outside of sports?
CR: We will grow within the vertical. We are hyper-filtered on professional sports, whether it’s real-time statistical content, advanced statistical content, the social side of the experience or the interactive side of the experience. In 2014 we will have a very strong emphasis on mobile and mobile engagement.
What excites you about the future of the Smart TV industry?
CR: The potential. For years the promise has been floating out there that eventually you’d be able to have this optimal use case, which is incorporating your second screen activity into your primal viewing experience—your television. Now, because the technology is embedded within these sets, it allows that use case to come to fruition. We are very optimistic about the space, specifically on the TV side of our business. These aren’t necessary new equations that are being solved, it’s just technology and how it’s enabling these types of services to be delivered in a way that wasn’t available three or four years ago.
In your opinion, what has been the biggest disruptor in the Smart TV industry to date?
CR: I think ACR is going to disrupt the smart TV industry in a very positive way. I think it’s already started to and it’s going to become more and more ubiquitous, not only for the smart TV side, but also for the smart set-top box side. I think MSOs are going to start utilizing that technology, as they really haven’t yet.