Yahoo acquired IntoNow to add social TV listings to its mix of content and Websites. The buy comes as numerous Web services are vying to make TV more social.
Yahoo April 25 said it has
acquired IntoNow, which built a software platform and iPhone application that
learns what users are watching on TV and recommends the show to their friends
via Facebook and Twitter.
Financial terms of the deal
were not disclosed, though tech blogs are reporting
price was in the vicinity of $13 million to $30 million.
The IntoNow app
launched in January, lets users point their iPhone at the TV screen and tap a
button to automatically identify what users are watching via the show's audio
With more than five years of
U.S. TV programming indexed, the platform identifies content down to the
airing, episode and time within the program, and provides program information
and links associated with it within seconds.
Also known as the "TV
check-in," the idea is to help users share info about or alert others to
preferred TV programs, providing recommendations for what is currently airing
based on their interests and those of people to whom they are connected.
Internet companies and
application makers, such as Yahoo, Microsoft and Google, are increasingly
trying to inject social components into their products because they know it
increases user engagement for their Websites. Socialized TV is becoming a big
part of the new Web TV movement fueled by Apple TV, Google TV, Roku, Boxee and
IntoNow helps bring the
social Web to TV in real time.
"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," said Bill Shaughnessy, senior vice
president of product management and marketing at Yahoo.
Shaughnessy said he expects
IntoNow to fortify Yahoo's video content, search, mobile and Connected TV
experiences, "bolstering its social engagement across the Yahoo network
and on all screens."
IntoNow CEO Adam Cahan, a
former executive with Google and MTV, said in a blog post
announcing the deal that selling to Yahoo will give IntoNow the scale it needs
to reach more countries around the world.
While IntoNow works solely
for the iPhone now, Cahan said he expects to expand the application to support
devices based on Google's Android platform, Apple's iPad, as well as the Web.
Yahoo is desperate to boost
user engagement after suffering traffic and revenue declines in search and its
other properties. The Internet company saw its first-quarter revenue drop 24 percent
from a year earlier.
Jim Friedland, an analyst at
Cowen & Co., said there there's no sign of Yahoo's user engagement turning around
despite the fact that it has integrated with both Facebook
and Twitter to try to lure more users to its news, search and other Websites.