I have seen a lot of attempts to combine social networking and live television - recently a trial in the UK was a disaster, however it looks like the Philo people actually have a clue about marketing :-)
(via The Wall Street Journal, and thanks to Carlos Kirchner for recommending)
Philo Media Tunes Into New Funding For TV Check-Ins
By Ty McMahan
You can check in at your local coffee shop. You can check in at your favorite music venue. Now, with Philo, you can check into “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
Philo Media Corp., which just raised its first round of venture funding, is taking the check-in trend popularized by Foursquare Inc. to television. The company says it is a social television platform, giving fans a new way to watch and interact with their favorite shows.
The company’s new funding comes from North Bridge Venture Partners, DFJ Gotham Ventures, Eniac Ventures and Stephen Lambert, a television producer whose credits include “Wife Swap,” “Faking It,” “Secret Millionaire” and, most recently, “Undercover Boss.”
“Television has been an entirely lean-back experience, but with a platform like Philo, you not only check into shows and interact with viewers, but there will be an opportunity to interact with content,” co-founder and Chief Executive David Levy said.
Philo offers iPhone and iPod Touch applications that enable users to tune in and comment on saved, recorded shows as well as live programming; receive push notifications when friends tune in; see how friends and other viewers are tuning in; receive awards for watching shows; participate in virtual television scavenger hunts; and compete in a game that provides credits for watching a show, allowing a fan to rise in the ranks from “production assistant” to “executive producer.”
The company is developing television projects with the likes of Studio Lambert and Donald Trump Productions to integrate the Philo community into the show. Levy said information about those projects will be released at a later time.
Philo plans to monetize through promotions, but Levy declined to provide additional information. “We’re hyper-focused on growing the user base,” Levy said. “We believe there are a number of avenues to monetize.”
Creating online communities around video programming is becoming a more common occurrence. For example, YouTube streamed the Bonnaroo Music Fest this year, allowing users to interact with each other through a commenting system. Similarly, CNN and Facebook joined forces to stream the most recent presidential inauguration.
Last year, 2Peer Ltd. launched Qlipso, a service that enables friends to watch online videos or any Flash-based media together from different locations while chatting.
Also, HotPotato Media Inc, another check-in service backed by First Round Capital and RRE Ventures, now displays an “I’m watching” tab.
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