Spreecast, an online platform that lets anyone broadcast with multiple people, has inked a pretty big deal with a major media company - Viacom.
Viacom's VH1 Digital and Logo Digital will be using the Spreecast platform to bring their on-air talent closer to their fans.
"People want to drive engagement with their audience," said Jeff Fluhr, founder and CEO of Spreecast, in an interview with me. "That's a huge part of what they want to do. Build a bond and loyalty. In addition to that, they want to bring their fans together with their talent. And [what we do] is not possible with a TV screen."
As part of their partnership, VH1 will continue to air spreecasts for "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta Face-to-Face Aftershow," and well as "Very VH1 with Kate Spencer." Logo will be running an "Elimination Lunch" every Tuesday at noon during the "RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race." Fans will be able to eliminate queens the day after the final episode and ask questions.
Prior to the formalized relationship, VH1 and Logo Digital had already run a few spreecasts. The "Love & Hip Hot Atlanta" spreecasts saw 250,000 viewers. Some 35 fans went on-camera to ask questions and 1342 fans chatted. Fluhr said that it's early days for this type of engagement and the companies are just "scratching the surface" in terms of what can be done on with spreecasts.
Landing a media company is a good move for Spreecast, which is largely a media platform in need of reliable and popular content to drive an audience. Spreecasts has been used by many celebrity journalists, such as Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper. But there has been no formal relationship between Spreecast and the media companies who employ these journalists.
Fluhr hopes that a formal partnership with Viacom will allow spreecasts to be part of the programming, and not just a nice-to-have feature.
Once the volume of traffic goes up for Spreecast, the San Francisco-based company plans to incorporate some sort of sponsorship and advertising component to monetize the shows.
Spreecast, which launched in November 2011, has raised $11 million in funding. Most recently, it raised $7 million from insitutions, such as Pittsburgh, Pa-based Meakem Becker Venture Capital, GGV Capital and MentorTech Ventures as well as Stan Shuman, managing director at Allen & Company. Existing investors who participated in the company's $4 million seed round, such as Gordon Crawford, media and technology investor at Capital Research Global Investors, Sandy Robertson, founder of Robertson Stephens and Francisco Partners, and Edward Scott, Jr., founder of BEA Systems, participated again.