Both Twitter and Facebook are vying for pole position as the platform of choice for social TV engagement — the place where viewers go to quip about TV shows in real time – but there are movements among pure-play startups to build up their positions, too. In the latest of these, ConnecTV is buying TweetTV to add more analytics features to a network that already lets people watch, create and share six-second video clips of TV shows with others via an iOS app.
A clip looks a bit like this:
At the same time, ConnecTV is launching a new service called ClipADS, which it will sell to brands and agencies as a platform for making and distributing short video ads across social media sites that link to more product information, longer videos and so on. These will run within ConnecTV’s own stream, as well as on other platforms.
The terms of the TweetTV deal have not been disclosed.
It’s not clear how many users either service has today. ConnecTV simply says that the combined companies will let users discover and share “social” shows, “based on a rich database of TV-related key words merged with the Tweeting activities of 45 million people commenting about their favorite programs.”
“ConnecTV together with TweetTV creates the most powerful social experience for TV fans – a unique combination of TV guidance and social TV entertainment,” said ConnecTV CEO Ian Aaron in a statement. “For brands and networks the big data filtering and reporting capabilities of TweetTV integrated with ConnecTV’s viral advertising ClipADS provide a unique advantage in targeting social TV fans with the most relevant, engaging and measurable marketing experience.”
Social TV has been one of those areas that has somewhat foxed the tech world.
There are clearly a lot of people logging on to talk about TV on the second screen of their choice, but it remains to be seen how well that will convert to selling ads alongside that content, or whether there will be a big enough revenues in tracking that as a B2B service to help brands and broadcasters get more insights into audiences.
At the same time, with larger platforms like Twitter investing in building out these kinds of services — including making acquisitions of their own — that leaves a question mark over what role the smaller, pure-play startups will have in this space. We’ve already seen some relaunches, acquisitions fall through, and others happen in their wake.
In that context, Silicon Valley-based ConnecTV is interesting in part because of the track record of its founders and the investors/partners that it has picked up.
CEO Ian Aaron used to be the president of TV Guide, while its CTO Alan Moskowitz was on the founding team at TiVo and was a technical director at the company. And Stacy Jolna, who is the CMO, held senior roles at both. ConnecTV aggregates feeds for users to clip from some 400 channels across 55 major TV markets in the U.S.
ConnecTV was founded in 2010 and has not disclosed that many details about its funding — CrunchBase puts the total raised at $2.9 million. But we know financing includes at least two years of bootstrapping, private investors and no less than 10 U.S. TV station groups affiliated with the likes of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, MyNetworkTV, and CW.
It has worked in partnership with Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps, Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television and Media General to “socialize” their TV programs.
Austin, Texas-based TweetTV appears to have raised around $750,000.
Its existing platform lets people look across charts to check out the most popular shows at any given moment and what people are saying in connection with them. These can be parsed by your location, your friends, TweetTV’s own curation, networks, and so on.
Like ConnecTV — and indeed bigger platforms like Twitter and Facebook — the service is partly voyeuristic and partly about encouraging you to jump into the conversation yourself. While the current product is web-based and feels more like a focused Twitter client at the moment, you can imagine how the technology under the hood could get repositioned to drive better content discovery elsewhere.