by Michael Shapiro | November 16, 2012

Technology provider INXPO, known for its virtual event and webcasting platforms, launched its newest product this week, Social Business TV. The new platform is an amalgamation of tools already provided by the company, fused with some new functionality, as described by chief marketing officer Scott Kellner. Social Business TV combines webcasting and social media into an always-available platform that serves as a year-round community for a company or association.

Many of INXPO's Fortune 1000 customers were already using the company's virtual event platform for 365-day communities, according to Kellner, which really prompted INXPO to develop SBTV. "It represents a significant shift in communications," he says, "to this model of social business broadcasting."

With SBTV, clients get a privately branded site that consists of one or more channels. The client administering each site decides who gets access to which channels; one channel may be set up as an event-attendee channel, for instance, while another is only for internal communication. Within each channel exists a schedule of webcasts and chats; viewers can see when new, live presentations are to be aired, as well as take a look at any archived content.

The entire platform integrates with a whole host of social media/communication tools. For communication among employees, for instance, it integrates with Salesforce Chatter, Jive and Yammer; for public presentations, it brings in conversations from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. That kind of integration is absolutely essential, says Kellner, as it increasingly represents the way people communicate in the workplace; synchronizing those chats with a webcast presentation makes each event more collaborative and interactive -- in other words, more like an actual face-to-face meeting. The channel layout is clean, with chats occurring simultaneously in windows alongside the main presentation.

The easiest way to explain SBTV's purpose is to look at it in the context of INXPO's product lineup. Essentially, there are three products: Stand-alone webcasting, which is used primarily for immediate communication at a given point in time; online events, for short-term or intensive programs of a few days; and SBTV, designed for long-term internal or external communications.

The thing that really differentiates SBTV from INXPO's previous products, however, is its pricing model. While most webcast fees are based on the size of an audience and duration of each webcast, SBTV offers an unlimited number of webcasts for a flat fee. "We felt that people were being penalized for communicating more," says Kellner of the previous model. "Now, for a single monthly fee, you can do as much webcasting as you want. Everyone, including small and medium-sized companies, can take advantage of webcasting."

INXPO offers two versions of the product: SBTV Professional, at $2,000 per month; and SBTV Enterprise, at $4,000 per month. The "vast majority of features" are in both, notes Kellner. Examples of some features available in the Enterprise model include: auto-directed breakouts, in which specific groups of viewers can be automatically directed to the next appropriate session during an event; localization in up to 19 languages; and gamification, through which viewers are offered incentives for completing various tasks or modules.

The platform also includes a reporting and analytics tool that includes metrics such as number of viewers, average viewing time, level of engagement, questions submitted, chat transcripts, and poll and survey data, among other information. Everything on the platform is entirely self-serve, says Kellner. Customers are trained on how to set up the webcasts and get the most from their channels. And although most customers don't require service to run their webcasts, according to Kellner, support is available for anyone who wants it. You can check out a demo of SBTV to get more details about its layout and functionality.