Clipsync, Itzik Cohen and Social TV - An Interview

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Itzik Cohen, the CEO of Clipsync, and I first met at The Future Of Television East in New York City back in 2009 - and  his energy, ideas and drive to bring Social TV to the traditional TV oligarchy was both admirable and impressive. As one of the earlier proponents of the socialisation of TV - he's a true Social TV evangelist who speaks at, or is found at, TV events on both sides of the Atlantic and been an integral part of Social TV becoming part of the Zeitgeist.

I recently had the chance to interview him to catch up with Clipsync and how things are going.

What kind of deals is ClipSync involved in at the moment?

"As a leading platform ClipSync is mainly working on closing publisher partnerships and relationships with media companies.  We are very focused on making our partners successful with their implementations and with their different types of content.  This summer is going to be a very busy one for ClipSync with several planned partnership announcements and deployments."

How do you see Google TV - a threat or an opportunity?

"Google TV could be a great opportunity for ClipSync, like other Internet enabled boxes and connected TV it represents an opportunity to take interactivity and engagement to the big screen.  Unlike previous attempts by other vendors, Google TV seem to be an open platform with a potential app store which will allow more content to be available and thus the investment in creating a ClipSync app for Google TV should be a good one. "

Are you planning to build TV apps or widgets in the future? With Yahoo or other Connected TV platforms?

"Our priority right now is to perfect the interaction and engagement models for the two foot experience and the two screen solution with our mobile linear companions.  We have plans to create apps for several 10 foot based platforms but at the moment the distribution is not there yet and there is not enough content.  We hope that the next wave of these enabled devices (i.e. Google TV, Boxee Box and more) will change that paradigm to make this a higher priority."

What is your relationship with Boxee?

"Boxee and ClipSync partnered to enable our interactive and social features on the Boxee platform and allow content owners that choose Boxee or build an app for Boxee to take advantage of the technology and the unique business opportunities that it Social TV can generate."

The Event Theatre with the Black Eyed Peas? How did it go? Meet your expectations?

"We have done several events with the Event Theater and thus far the user feedback has been great and very encouraging.  We have a busy summer with several events planned so this part of our business is growing faster than we expected."

What's in the pipeline?

"Naturally, our relationships are confidential until we make them public but there are some big names with lots of content and some very unique and innovative use cases we are working on that we will make public very soon."

Any plans for Europe

"Yes!  We are talking to several providers in the EU but our activities are opportunistic by nature.  We are targeting Q4 of this year to take a more focused approach to our international expansion."
Prior to founding ClipSync, Cohen was centrally involved with funding and IPO and reported to the CEO at WebEx Communications, the Web Meeting Applications Company Acquired by Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO). Prior to WebEx, Mr. Cohen was Director of Business Development at NetManage Inc., where he led the Advanced Technology team focusing on collaborative technologies. As a professional basketball player in Europe, Mr. Cohen played for Maccabi Tel-Aviv, a 4 time EuroLeague champions. A native of Israel, Mr. Cohen also served in the Israeli Air Force.

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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