Red Bee's new RedDiscover application, which works similarly to the recently launched Zeebox social TV service, is to be rolled out as a branded Time Out version in the "coming weeks". Red Bee, previously BBC Broadcast, has also created an iPad version for Dutch publishing house Veronica.
RedDiscover was inspired by recent research suggesting that 74% of UK consumers claim they cannot find anything to watch on live TV each week, despite there being more channels now than ever before.
Steve Plunkett, the director of technology and innovation at Red Bee Media, described the new app as a "curating experience" which will enhance the discovery of new content, but also complement live TV viewing in a process often known as 'second screening'.
Plunkett feels that digital TV electronic programme guides, often featuring more than 700 channels, have become confusing for viewers, while only basic text around shows is no longer enough to satisfy their appetite for information and interaction.
Red Bee Media manages the TV channels and video on-demand of various leading broadcasters and has 15 years worth of programming and channel metadata across 23 different languages. RedDiscover uses this data, but also some of the technology from Red Bee's acquisition of social search company TV Genius last year.
Users of the Time Out TV guide will be able to log in, browse programme data, and also 'like' shows, as well as see what their friends are watching and enjoying.
RedDiscover taps into the rise of social media usage around TV viewing, with full integration of Twitter and Facebook. Small icons indicate whether there is big Twitter activity around a programme, including red markers for shows that are trending hard.
In-built links will either go directly to the Twitter feed for that show, or offer an integrated feed - although Plunkett noted the difficultly in offering unmoderated Twitter discussions on a generalist TV guide such Time Out's.
A Facebook icon will demonstrate whether some of a user's Facebook friends have liked the programme, while a pop up box will feature their pictures.
But one of the most interesting things about the guide is the Twitter infographic data. This basically gives a real-time view of which shows are trending around the world, as signified by moving circles.
The most discussed programmes will be shown as larger circles, such as Sherlock, which is thought to have peaked at more than 4,000 tweets per minute during the final episode of series two this month.
Users can access information on the programmes and sometimes a 'watch now' option made possible by direct links to live streams from ITV Player and BBC iPlayer.
There is also functionality in RedDiscover to instantly set recordings on a user's Sky+ or TiVo box, as well as get programme show reminders sent by SMS.
Time Out will offer RedDiscover as a 'second screen' service, designed to be used alongside the main live TV viewing.
Plunkett feels that the investment is worth it for a firm like Time Out as it can offer a branded EPG to its readers, as well as use the platform to sell advertising and promote the magazine. He noted that Red Bee Media already manages the TV guide on ITV.com, which is the most popular part of the site.
Time Out editor-in-chief Tim Arthur said: "We are incredibly excited about working with Red Bee Media on our new online TV guide.
RedDiscover uses a search algorithm to personalise the guide to each user's tastes, based on what they have watched and 'liked', along with the programme information they have browsed.
It can also link to the RedPlayer, Red Bee Media's online video platform launched last year, which allows broadcasters and content owners to deliver and monetise high quality video to a range of devices, including connected TVs, smartphones and tablets.
Red Bee Media chief executive Bill Patrizio said: "We believe that the explosion of content available to consumers whenever and wherever they want it, combined with a new wave of consumer adoption and interest in new social and mobile technologies, will lead to a markedly increased demand from consumers for robust content discovery solutions to help them to navigate and make the most of the increasingly fragmented world of TV.
"In turn, this convergence will create a significant opportunity for providers at every point of the value chain to drive new revenue potential, increase content consumption and obtain consumer feedback to target their services more effectively.
"We've designed RedDiscover in response to these needs and opportunities, fusing 'science and art' and bringing together emerging and existing discovery solutions to help our clients build lasting relationships between their content and consumers."
Time Out's TV guide will launch on PC and Mac in the "coming weeks". The Veronica iPad app, which has broadly the same functionality but using a touch interface, will launch soon in the Netherlands.
Red Bee Media said that RedDiscover could be incorporated directly into new digital TV platforms, although it has not confirmed any specific partnership as yet.
But it has been reported that BT Vision intends to relaunch its pay-TV service in the coming months with new social and interactive features.