Social-TV Start-Up ConnecTV Strikes Mega-Deal With 10 Broadcast Groups

Seventy-six million households are covered in a partnership involving 10 station groups

Start-up company ConnecTV, which will track television viewers' watching habits and connect them to other viewers via social media, has struck a deal with 10 TV station groups that collectively cover 76 million U.S. households., the company announced Tuesday.

The companies that ConnecTV is partnering with include Barrington Broadcasting Group, Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media — which, all told, account for 201 stations across the broadcast-network spectrum in 45 of the country's top 50 markets.

When it's launched next year, ConnecTV will offer a free app for tablets and computers that "checks in" with viewers as they watch their programs

Users of these devices will have a "second screen" that delivers relevant content such as news, polls and sports stats. The app will also allow subscribers to see which shows their friends are watching and invite them to a virtual "viewing party."

The service also promises to make it easier to share favorite TV moments via Facebook, Twitter and email.

Naturally, the app also allows the stations involved to sell ads.