Watching TV can be a very social occasion but not if you are on your own. However a three-month old start-up acquired by Yahoo! allows people to talk about a TV show with friends even if they're on their own.
IntoNow started life back on 31 January this year and 12 weeks later has been acquired by Yahoo!, though the price paid has not been disclosed. The iPhone app (it’s not available yet for Android or iPad) allows users to connect with other people watching the same television show and talk to them about it. The idea is to create a social experience around the television show. Turning on the app, users let it ‘listen’ to whatever is on the TV and the app should recognise the name of the show and what episode you are watching. The app has a vast database of shows – the equivalent of 266 years of viewing – and can detect new programmes across 130 channels (though that’s only in the US at the moment).
“Relying on social channels as a means for discovering content – whether it’s on a PC, mobile device or TV – is rapidly on the rise,” Bill Shaughnessy, senior vice president of product management and product marketing at Yahoo, said in a press release. “IntoNow’s technology combines the ability to check-in to what a consumer is watching, engage in conversations, and find related content.” There are a number of similar apps available at the moment but IntoNow is the only one that offers audio detection.
Yahoo! last week announced profits of $223m (£137m) for the first three months of 2011, down from $310m last year – though these figures were ahead of analysts’ expectations. Yahoo! is in the process of turning itself around following years in the doldrums and this latest acquisition is another part of the plan according to CEO Carol Bartz.