Almost three months after striking a deal to acquire second screen TV app specialist GetGlue, i.TV has "retired" the GetGlue brand while introducing a new brand and social TV app called "tvtag" that will enable users to share, comment on and react to what they’re watching.
Tvtag will aggregate the i.TV second screen audiences from GetGlue, DirecTV and Nintendo (via the Nintendo TVii feature that’s baked into the Wii U console and Wii U GamePad). i.TV CEO Brad Pelo said the move will give tvtag access to an aggregate, potential reach of about 10 million users.
i.TV is debuting the free tvtag app on the iPhone, and expects to extend support to iPads, Android-powered devices, and Web browsers in a matter of days, Pelo said. At launch, the tvtag app will support 70 TV networks, including NBC, ABC, and Fox, the company said.
The new app replaces the GetGlue platform with one that lets users “tag” moments within individual TV shows and sporting events with comments, doodles and memes. Keeping some of the old GetGlue features in place, tvtag will still let users “check in” to a show to unlock digital stickers, while also integrating user polls tied to TV content and the ability to share show-related info on Twitter and Facebook.
In the background, a team of more than 50 staffers will be keeping tabs on live TV shows and generating “curated moments,” such as a critical passage in a TV drama or a football game, that are then distributed to tvtag users. To provide additional context and relevance, those tags, which will be shared within seconds of the live TV moment, will be affixed with captioned screengrabs.
“Tvtag is to Twitter what Instagram is to mobile messaging,” Pelo said, holding that “Twitter is a general purpose platform…[and] not a TV social network.”
The purpose-built tvtag platform, he added, “is all about socializing around the show and the moments within the show.”
Pelo said tvtag’s business model will center on “contextual advertising,” whereby users will receive offerings on their mobile devices that match up with commercials appearing on live TV.
“We won’t be chasing digital dollars around display ads,” he said, referring to GetGlue’s historic ad-sponsored model. Tvtag’s approach “is really about TV advertising and connecting the TV advertisement with what’s on your second screen.”
i.TV didn’t announce any ad partners on Tuesday, but Pelo said tvtag ad campaigns are in the works, noting that some might be ready to go in time for Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.
Pelo said i.TV is also pursuing partnerships that will help the company expand the tvtag audience.