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Swipe to Like … Your Favorite Show

MightyTV takes a Tinder-like approach to navigating the OTT world 4/25/2016 8:00 AM Eastern
The MightyTV app enables users to search and discover content on the services they already use (left) and get social recommendations on shows (right).

The market seems to be full of video navigation and recommendation apps and services meant to help consumers traverse a sea of content from a growing group of over-the-top providers.

 

The latest to join that, with an approach it believes will help it stand apart from the crowd, is MightyTV. The startup, founded by a former Google executive, is taking a Tinder-like approach to the platform.

 

Sharing some similarities with that famous (infamous?) hookup app, MightyTV drives personalization by directing users to swipe in a certain direction when they like, love or dislike movies and TV shows from an array of providers, including Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube.

 

SWIPE AND LEARN

With every swipe, MightyTV adds that data to its algorithmic platform and uses it to build smarter, more personalized profiles in an effort to provide a more targeted experience. Users can also apply filters to display just TV shows or movies, or only titles from certain OTT providers, and can even sort out content by price range.

 

But MightyTV exists as a separate app and not as a discovery platform built into a specific streaming service, which puts it in a quasi-competitive position against single- purpose systems from Netflix, or more integrated offerings from companies such as TiVo’s DigitalSmiths, ThinkAnalytics, Jinni or ContentWise, for example.

 

A user can also start to stream a TV show or movie to the big screen via the MightyTV app by linking to the OTT provider and then casting that content to a TV set hooked up to an Apple TV or a Google Chromecast adapter. MightyTV’s first app is for the iPhone, and an Android version is on the roadmap.

 

One of MightyTV’s popular features in its early days is “Mashup,” which lets users create combined playlists on the fly using data from two or more other users.

 

“There’s so much content out there that it’s increasingly difficult to manage,” Brian Adams, MightyTV’s co-founder and CEO, said of the reason behind the startup. “The discovery challenge kept getting harder and harder. I essentially built the tool that I wanted as someone who likes to watch video.”

 

Regarding the app’s algorithmic approach, MightyTV starts absorbing data to learn about the user as he or she swipes away, then sorts content accordingly. Users can also link the app to their Facebook accounts to help MightyTV learn which types of shows are popular in that person’s social circle.

 

“First and foremost, we’re a company that does a lot of machine learning and AI,” Adams said. “We also use your friends’ choices to feature certain things that are popular amongst your friends. In a way, that’s kind of a form of curation in that your friends are helping to bring forward things for you. But it isn’t curation like we have a team … that is going in and moving things up and down.”

 

Early on, MightyTV will focus on OTT content and the desire to fill the needs of cord-cutters. Adams said he would not rule out adding show data from more traditional pay TV services down the road.

 

MightyTV’s app is free, and the company, which raised about $2.25 million in seed funding last year, is still noodling on its monetization model. (Spark Capital, Canaan Partners and former Millennial Media CEO Michael Barrett are among its investors and advisers.)

 

The current focus is to refi ne the experience and build a big user base.

 

FIRST GOAL: ENCOURAGE USE

“Down the road, discovery is a model that has born a lot of great businesses and I think there will be a lot of opportunities for us,” Adams said. “But right now, we’re focused on getting that experience and the user base right.”

 

Adams has a pretty good fi x on this whole money-making thing — Adams founded AdMeld, an ad-optimization platform for digital publishers, in 2007. It was sold it to Google for a cool $400 million in 2011.

 

New York-based MightyTV currently has about 10 employees.

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