TV check-in on the second screen – IntoNow

This is the second blog in a series about check-in services for television content. This week I will provide an overview of five different applications that are competing in this field. Find the earlier post about GetGlue here.Today in this series: IntoNow.

Social TV application IntoNow

Name: IntoNow
Started: 2011, Palo Alto, California
Company: Yahoo!
Website: http://www.intonow.com/ci
Twitter: http://twitter.com/intonow
Users:  Unknown

The Company

In may/april 2011, three months after IntoNow introduced its first product, the company  was acquired by Yahoo! for around 20 to 30 million dollar. This was twelve weeks after the launch by a team of 7 people. For a part the application came from the knowledge the company gained from developing Auditude, an advanced video advertising platform for premium content owners and publishers, now owned by Adobe. Both companies were started by the CEO, Adam Cahan, who is now part of the Yahoo! IntoNow team. Yahoo!’s interest in the company is in line with their (new/latest) ambition to be on every screen. The launch of Yahoo!’s ConnectedTV software, which is available on over 70 TV models, was its first big presence on the domestic television screen and brings games, applications, VoD, internet content, and social networking to the TV set. The acquisition of IntoNow is a big step to gain a presence on the second screen as well and to gather a lot of extra meta-data and screen time to sell advertisements.

The Service

The unique aspect of the check-in service that IntoNow provides is the capability of the application to recognize the tv content you are watching, both on your television and laptop or tablet, by recording and matching the sound ‘fingerprint’. After recognizing the content you can share this with your friends on Twitter and Facebook and find more information from channels like IMDB, Netflix and iTunes. Furthermore, it allows you to see what other people within your social circle and beyond are watching. As IntoNow describes:

“When we launched on January 31, 2011 our idea was to change the way people interact with TV. What we believe is that the devices we have in our lives are going to fundamentally change the way we consume, share and engage with content, and advertisers.”

The company uses a patented platform called SoundPrint which analyzes the audio from your TV or laptop with three-second increments by using the microphone on your iOS or Android device. After this, the recorded audio is converted into a fingerprint which allows the service to compare this unique ID to its reference database which hold over 130 channels of live broadcasting with content that goes back to 5 years in history. After the fingerprint is matched the service provides the metadata that is connected to the content within seconds. This includes the title, the cast, a description and optional links. It can be compared to Shazam but for television content. However, Shazam is focused on recognizing the music that is playing and provides direct download options, watching television provides a different setting and requires different meta-content.

Besides the ability to show extra information about the content you are watching on a second screen, it allows advertisers to connect specials and discounts (as they did with Pepsi) to their commercials, by allowing users to recognize the ad. Content creators can use the second screen and its ability to match the time and show that is being watched to provide commercial information about the products that are shown or extra background information about the episode or event whenever the content is watched.

Back in march the company shared some interesting insight on the behavior of its users. For example, of the IntoNow users, 79 percent are using it for television content versus 14 percent for movies. In 57 percent the application is used for time shifted content of which Sci-Fi is the most popular genre while sports is most popular to watch live. 40 percent of this time shifted content is older than 2 weeks. The most popular genre that is watched while using IntoNow are sitcoms followed by drama and reality series, with Family Guy, The Office and American Idol in the top three shows.

The Promise

In march the service already hit a million shows/movies tagged in 4 weeks. The quick growth of the service, the acquisition by Yahoo! and the popularity of second screen TV applications makes IntoNow one of the most promising check-in applications to take on the competition with GetGlue and Miso. Although they miss the strategic partnerships and are still behind when it comes to reach (e.g. Trendrr statistics are limited to Miso and GetGlue), their SoundPrint platform provides a key advantage over manual check-ins. It’s like using FourSquare without using GPS vs. using GPS. Yahoo! anticipated on this advantage and has a perfect base for the creation of a second-screen experience for their ConnectedTV platform.

Be sure to check again tomorrow for a new post about Miso, or read my earlier post about GetGlue.

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