Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that technology from the Five Across acquisition was the foundation for the new Eos service. It is not.
LAS VEGAS --Two years after it first started courting big media companies, Cisco Systems will finally launch a new product to help these companies harness the power of social networking and connect their brands to fans.
On Wednesday, Cisco will kick off the Consumer Electronics Show here by announcing Eos, a hosted software platform that allows media and entertainment companies to create, manage and grow online communities. Through Eos Cisco has compiled technology tools and slapped on an easy to use interface to make building and customizing Web sites easy. But most importantly, it's bundled into the software, technology that will allow media companies to build interactive Web sites so that fans can connect with musicians, TV shows, movies, or whatever brand a media company wants to promote.
Cisco first began looking for ways to help big media companies late in 2006, when it created the Media Solutions business unit. The idea was to develop and market products to digital media content owners. In February last year, the company bought a startup called Five Across, which developed social networking software.
Dan Scheinman, the Cisco executive behind Eos, believes that the new software platform addresses one of the biggest problems that media companies face today.
"The reality is that media is so disrupted by digital technology," he said. "Fans are looking for ways to connect to their favorite artists or TV shows and they are seeking out communities, but the media companies have been slow to provide this for them. Eos is centered around community and allows fans to participate."
The service provides tools that allow media companies to create blogs, live chats, message boards, rating and ranking systems.
Scheinman believes that social networking is the most important way for marketers and big media companies to reach consumers. Consumers are using sites such as YouTube and Facebook to share media, like videos, music and pictures. He also believes that media companies can combat piracy by offering fans an interactive experience through their own branded Web sites.
"In many ways digital destroys the value proposition for media," Scheinman said. "Other people can rip off the content and monetize it, aggregate it, and take pennies for it."… Read more