Sky is to integrate Zeebox - a social media platform for use when watching TV - into its mobile phone apps after purchasing a 10 percent stake in the company.

Zeebox, which was launched in November last year, is an app that can be installed on PCs, iPhones or iPads and allows users to share what they're watching with their friends, search for more information about the programme and even chat about it on Facebook or Twitter.

Sky said it will launch a "companion app" that offers "augmented" TV viewing by allowing viewers to connect with friends, search for information about a show and even buy merchandise related to the programme, in the first half of this year.

Sky already offers mobile apps that allow Sky subscribers to remotely manage recordings on their Sky+ box and even watch TV from mobile devices while on-the-go, in the form of Sky Go.

"The integration of Zeebox's innovative technology will enable us to make the companion device experience even richer and more engaging," said Emma Lloyd, director of emerging products at BSkyB.

"We know that millions of our customers have smartphones and tablets and regularly use them to engage with Sky on mobile devices, so it's a natural next step for us."

Anthony Rose, who helped develop the BBC's online catch-up TV service, BBC iPlayer, and then left to work on Project Canvas, a TV-on-demand service that uses net-connected set-top boxes and is now know as YouView, is one of the founders of Zeebox.