Tunerfish - Social TV - Comes to iPhone

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Techcrunch is reporting that Comcast’s Social Video Discovery Engine Tunerfish is Coming To The iPhone. At Appmarket.tv we have reported on them a number of times since Comcast rolled out the product in May 2010.
The gist of the application is simple: instead of aimless channel surfing, which often yields lackluster results, Tunerfish lets you see what your friends are watching (think Foursquare for video). Launch the Tunerfish app, and you’ll see a list of the shows your Tunerfish friends have checked into (you can choose to check into content that spans television, movies, and online video) as well as trending shows. Once you’ve found something you like, you can check-in to notify the rest of your Tunerfish-using friends what you’ve come across. Updates can be syndicated to Facebook as well.
Despite all the hoopla and hype in the press, geolocation service Foursquare is remarkably tiny for all the ink it's getting. But what is has done is introduce the phenomenon of "checking in" which has gone viral beyond just telling people where you are, and a handful of services now focus on letting you "check in" to what you're doing--whether it's attending a concert or reading a book. And this is the angle that a number of Social TV startups and bigger players have bet on. 

For instance GetGlue, announced their partnership last week with HBO to promote its current series "True Blood," "Hung," and "Entourage," in which users who use the GetGlue iPhone app to "check in" and say they're watching those shows can earn insidery "stickers" much like Foursquare's badges. Hotpotato, rumoured to be a potential acquisition target for Facebook are also banking on the same space. Other players in the social TV space  help you discover things to watch based upon contextual data (e.g. Rovi, Jinni, Google TV, RottenTomatoes, Netflix, LOVEFiLM, etc) or with social data (Clicker, Miso, Tunerfish, Philo, Hunch…).

Tunerfish incorporates game mechanics in terms of rewarding those who share... key to the Tunerfish experience. The gang at Tunerfish have put together a “no-budget” TV commercial for their new iPhone / iPod touch app and have slated for an Android version soon. To make a long story short - the Tunerfish mobile app allows users to scan a live stream of what your friends are currently watching, as well as a list of trending shows consisting of what’s popular today through the service. Once you find something you like, you have the option to update your profile with the “I’m Watching” button.

But the question is... how can Tunerfish further diffuse Social TV due to television becoming less and less linear, as on demand and time shifted viewing is becoming a normal part of watching TV? The focus and interest on a particular topic (in time) is fragmented and hard to reach a critical mass. Linear events don't have this challenge. Tunerfish does not  appear to challenge this issue and is likely banking on users' networks to be in the same timezone. 

And as noted at eHomeupgrade.com there seem to be more problems:
What’s misleading or unclear in the video Tunerfish made is that it appears that the show selected on the handset is a program that’s playing in real-time on TV — which I don’t believe it is since it was selected from the Trending tab, but it would be cool if you knew what was hot during the active time slot.

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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