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TV Guide Mobile has now released its next-generation, one-stop TV companion app providing personalized discovery, instant watching, and social sharing, exclusively for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
“This is a game-changer for our users, who want an easier way to manage all the ways they watch.”
The new product’s centerpiece is TV Guide’s Watchlist, its groundbreaking platform featuring dozens of innovations based on user research and feedback. More than 500,000 people already have created Watchlists on TVGuide.com, which has more than 25 million monthly unique users. TV Guide Mobile’s first-generation apps have been installed more than 7 million times.
Watchlist claims to make TV simple again: When users add shows, sports teams, actors and movies, Watchlist shows them on a single screen all the ways to watch – on TV, on demand, streaming and DVD. Users also can share and discuss what they’re watching with their social networks or link to ABC, ABC Family, CW, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, MAX GO, Crackle and iTunes to watch their favorites. Additional video sources will be added over the next few weeks.
“Our new super-personalized, social, mobile TV Guide is designed for the way people want to watch now – anywhere, anytime,” said Christy Tanner, Executive Vice President and General Manager of TVGuide.com and TV Guide Mobile. “This is a game-changer for our users, who want an easier way to manage all the ways they watch.”
New features unique to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch include New Tonight Trending, a social hot list based on what TV Guide users are watching, plus Watchlist filters for News and New Tonight, which show users only their favorites.
The new version of the app, which is available only for iOS devices for now, enables users to do several things from the listings grid. Tapping on a program calls up a description, along with the ability to post a check-in with comments on Facebook, Twitter or Yahoo; set an alert to remind the user when the show or future episodes are about to air; or add the program to one's "Watchlist" of personal favorites.
Alternatively, users can see lists of the new programs on that evening and the programs with the most check-ins by TV Guide users (Thursday night's leaders: "Big Brother," followed by "Rookie Blue" and "Saving Hope"). The latter is TV Guide's version of a guide shaped by social media. Users also can display lists of programs featured by TV Guide's staff; the current options are Emmy-winners and nominees, and season premieres. And they can browse through various lists of TV shows available online, for free or for pay, and play them if they have the appropriate app installed. The listings and links are supplemented by an impressive amount of news stories, clips and photo galleries produced by TV Guide's editorial staff.
The app doesn't provide personalized recommendations to help sort through the haystack of programs available online; instead, it offers lists of the most popular programs, editors' picks and selections made by a weekly guest curator. Alas, many of the editors' picks and the guest curator's choices are available only to subscribers of HBO or Hulu Plus, or for a fee from the iTunes store.
In addition to Watchlist and New Tonight Trending, new features include:
Christy Tanner is a little bit like the Marissa Mayer of social TV. Tanner, who is the EVP and GM of TVGuide.com and TV Guide Mobile, has a huge audience – but most of those users aren’t exactly Foursquare- and Instagram-using Silicon Valley insiders. They don’t come to TVGuide.com to collect check-ins or badges, but to watch TV. A lot of it. And from a company like hers, they first and foremost expect what its name promises: a TV guide.
But TV is changing, and so is the way people are consuming it, regardless of whether they’re San Francisco hipsters or families in rural Texas. Netflix now has 24 million subscribers in the U.S., and more and more families are using multiple devices to access TV shows, with the iPad quickly becoming everyone’s favorite on-demand screen.
TVGuide.com’s Christy Tanner: The Marissa Mayer of social TV?
And with that, Tanner has a problem that’s a bit like the one Mayer is facing at Yahoo now: How do you evolve while the world changes around you without scaring away your huge legacy user base? Tanner has been doing this by keeping the traditional grid that most people associate with a brand like TV Guide alive, even though many TV startup founders tend to mock it. Instead of throwing it out altogether, she is augmenting it with the Watchlist, a personalized guide that first launched on TVGuide.com a year ago and has since been used by 500,000 people.
The TV Guide App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore.