Umami Launches Synchronous Companion TV App for the iPad

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Umami, a New York-based technology company focused on enhancing the television viewing experience, today unveiled its first consumer product, a synchronous, content-driven companion TV app. The free iPad app is available now in the App Store. Working in conjunction with Umami's second screen publishing platform, the app uses proprietary audio fingerprinting technology to sync continuously to live or time-shifted programming from all major broadcast and cable networks. It then provides rich, program-related content, conversation and more in a fun, living room-friendly experience.

Led by TV technology veterans Scott Rosenberg and Bryan Slavin, Umami was founded to deliver on the promise of interactive television for consumers, networks and advertisers. "In building Umami, we strove to provide consumers with an interactive, social experience across all of their favorite shows, while also serving TV networks' need to foster deeper, more engaging relationships with their viewers," noted Mr. Rosenberg, Umami's Co-Founder and CEO.

At startup, the app automatically detects what a consumer is watching, then provides show info, cast bios, and photos, as well as one-click access to official show pages, fan sites, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and other content sources. Umami's in-house editorial team curates enhanced content on many popular television series, and the app's Smart Search function recommends keywords and links to help consumers discover even more about their favorite shows. Viewers also have access to real-time social feeds to see what cast, critics and friends are saying about a show, and to make comments of their own.

In tandem with the launch of its app today, Umami is also debuting a publishing platform that empowers TV networks to create their own custom, branded experiences.

"By providing both a consumer app and a publishing platform, Umami dramatically simplifies the creation of synchronous, companion TV experiences," stated Mr. Slavin, Co-Founder and CTO.

"For example, one of our launch partners, National Geographic Channel, is leveraging Umami's second screen platform to deliver branded experiences around 'Expedition Week,' airing the week of November 7th, and 'Knights of Mayhem,' premiering November 15th."

A number of other partners will go live in the coming weeks, providing viewers with even deeper content across a variety of programming.

In August, Umami announced $1.65 million in seed funding from NEA, Battery Ventures and industry angels. Media veteran Rick Sirvaitis, one of Umami's key advisers and former head of GM Mediaworks and ad sales at Turner and Fox Family, said:

"Networks have been excited by Umami's consumer app, and the ease of creating interactive, social TV experiences for the platform. Umami makes TV more engaging, and that's a win for consumers, networks, and advertisers."

For more information and to download the app, visit Umami.

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