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According to an earlier scoop from Venturebeat, Apple reported to have paid $1.5 million for Matcha.tv but later reports today from Haaretz in Israel are saying that the number was more like $10 million.
Analysis from Haaretz:
Apple has bought the Israeli startup Matcha.tv, a video discovery app - the multinational's second acquisition in Israel - for a higher sum than previously thought.
Citing an unamed source, the website VentureBeat reported Wednesday that Matcha, which was founded in 2012 by Guy Piekarz, the company's CEO and Ilan Ben-Zeen, is being bought by Apple for a relatively small sum of about $1 million to $1.5 million, However, Haaretz has learned that the actual sum is much higher – a little over $10 million. Matcha was routinely ranked among the top 15 apps in Apple's store.
Moreover, the deal, a source told Themarker, was already signed in May, when the popular iOS app was yanked from the market. At the time, Piekarz told TechCrunch that the company was working on a new direction for its service, but now we know that the deal was kept secret. All five Matcha employees are now working for Apple.
Matcha was founded in 2010 and raised $300,000 from private investors. Its product is an application that functions as a TV guide for the modern age - letting users know which shows are available on various sites such as Netflix and Hulu, it also contains a social aspect that shows friends' viewing recommendations. The app also makes recommendations based on users' viewing record.
Analysis from Venturebeat:
So why Matcha.tv? The company doesn't have any valuable patents or a large user base. What it does have is a very nice service that maps out all the available content both online and on your TV. And while Apple hasn’t been very specific about its plans to revolutionize the TV industry (besides acknowledging that such plans exist), buying this service could suggest Matcha.tv’s technology is in line with those future TV plans.
Analysis from the Guardian:
Apple has dead-batted questions about the acquisition with its traditional "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans" response, but Matcha looks like a good fit for the company's emerging TV business.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in May that the company had sold 13m of its Apple TV set-top boxes, with around half of those sales coming in the first five months of 2013.
Cook had regularly described Apple TV as a "hobby" for the company until late 2012, when he told NBC that television was "an area of intense interest" for Apple, and criticised current TV interfaces as making him "feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years".
While analysts and journalists alike continue to speculate that Apple may launch its own television set in the next year or two, Matcha seems an obvious fit for Apple TV in its current form.
The set-top box enables users to access TV shows and films from iTunes and Netflix, as well as YouTube, Vimeo, Sky News, Major League Baseball, Wall Street Journal Live, Crunchyroll and Quello. In the US, Hulu Plus and HBO Go are also supported.