COLOGNE — Way back when everyone was busy turning panic about smartphones distracting TV viewers in to a “second screen” opportunity, I revealed a new app that got me excited.

“I have seen the future of TV and it is called ‘Zeebox’,” I wrote, breaking news of the new mobile app which helped TV viewers chat and learn more around the shows they were watching.

Little did I expect that Zeebox’s future would, one day, end up rubbing shoulders with skincare and haircare products.

Long since renamed Beamly, having attracted funding from several global TV operators, the company was, in 2015, acquired by cosmetics holding group Coty – part of a move to address the accelerating consumer shift from traditional to real-time digital and social media, especially for millennial shoppers. Now the second-screen darling self-declares as a “product and mar-tech agency”.

So, what on earth is a social TV app doing for a cosmetics company? In this video interview with Beet.TV, Jason Forbes, the Beamly CEO who also became Coty’s chief digital officer in the acquisition, says it’s about addressing an industry “irony”…

“For 20, 30, 50 years, consumer packaged goods has never had a direct relationship with the end consumer,” he says. “What we found is, with digital, we have a knowledge of our consumers in ways we never did before.”

Forbes says 88% of beauty brands now sell directly to consumers through Instagram or Facebook.

But the future won’t be only direct-to-consumer, for the company whose many brands include Wella, Cover Girl, Max Factor, Sally Hansen and Rimmel. Coty wants to both advertise to end buyers and leverage its partnerships with existing CPG retailers like Boots, Walmart and Superdrug.

“By building a better feedback loop, we’re able to better understand what types of paid media is working,” he says. “Then the context of our owned media, whereby we obviously have a large number of brand sites, we’re actually activating consumer journeys – based on an unmet need, they’re going from social, for example, to a brand site, to a retailer site.

Case in point – Coty’s Cover Girl recently partnered with Walmart on an augmented reality experience that shows how s lipstick would look on its owner.

For the company which launched with plans to revolutionise TV, where does telly fit in anymore?

“TV continues to have a very important role,” Forbes adds, before continuing: “In as much as TV continues to be an awesome reach medium, we’re all about that. But actually, we’re increasingly partnering on the digital media side.

“We look at a balanced mix, depending on who the consumer is and where they spend their time.”

This interview is part of a series titled Advertising Reimagined: The View from DMEXCO 2018, presented by Criteo. Please find more videos from the series here.