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Maria Menounos, host of hugely popular American factual show "Extra" apparently has been quietly building a different kind of brand covering the entertainment world and is the sole backer of AfterBuzz TV, which officially launched this week. The Social TV site, which specializes in providing companion content and a chat platform has grown rapidly in BETA over the first year, attracting new partnerships with Microsoft search engine Bing and streaming media specialist Akamai.
Afterbuzz rides the coattails of around 40 of TV's most popular primetime series by going online as quickly as 10-15 minutes after each episode's original airdate with a live webcast transmitting from its Los Angeles HQ for fans to dissect what they just watched. The venture employs a roster of hosts who moderate discussions that include fans who can call in or weigh in from chatrooms as well as guests from both sides of the camera on the shows being discussed.
...Next on Afterbuzz agenda is the launch of an app to capitalize on the growing percentage of its audience watching and listening from wireless devices. The venture has already broadened out to covering movies soon after their release.
Afterbuzz is staking out territory that a growing number of TV channels are starting to carve out themselves. MTV, Bravo, AMC and Lifetime are among the nets in recent years who have given existing hits their own companion shows that air immediately afterward.
The venture also finds itself on the rise as a cottage industry of social-TV startups try to grab market share of the conversation surrounding hit TV programming.