TV Guide Digital -- trying to keep the 60-year-old brand relevant amid an avalanche of new options for discovering and tracking what's on TV -- has added personalized "Watchlist" features to the third major iteration of its mobile apps.
On TVGuide.com, more than 500,000 users already have created Watchlists since the feature was introduced last year, the company said. As the centerpiece of version 3.0, published Thursday for Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, Watchlists let users add shows, sports teams, actors and movies and displays on a single screen all the ways to watch their favorites -- on TV, on demand, streaming or DVD.
With Watchlists, users also can share and discuss what they're watching with their social networks or link to video content on ABC.com, ABC Family, CW, Hulu Plus, HBO Go and MAX Go, Crackle and iTunes to watch their favorite shows. Additional video sources will be added over the next few weeks, TV Guide Mobile said.
"This is a game-changing reset for our products," Christy Tanner, executive vice president and general manager of TVGuide.com and TV Guide Mobile, said in an interview. "This is the ultimate second-screen entertainment companion."
Currently, version 3.0 of the app is available only for Apple iOS devices. A version for Android devices is slated to be released later this fall, according to Tanner. TV Guide Mobile's first- and second-generation apps have been installed more than 7 million times, while the website has more than 25 million monthly unique users.
TV Guide is under attack by dozens of other app developers, each vying to become the go-to next-generation video guide. For example, social TV startup GetGlue just overhauled its check-in app to provide a full, personalized guide and TV listings. Others in the space include Dijit, Peel Technologies and Yahoo's IntoNow.
Unlike many rival apps, TV Guide's mobile apps preserve the familiar TV listings grid -- a navigational tool some dismiss as outdated and useless. However, Tanner said, "It's still a really important method of discovery. We are paying more attention to the grid than anyone in this space."
Other new features in the TV Guide Mobile 3.0 app include "New Tonight Trending," ranking of which shows users are watching or planning to watch; video search; Watchlist filters that show users only their favorites; and social check-in and share features integrated with Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo.
The 3.0 app also provides editorially curated video channels that group TV shows, movies and web originals by theme or topic. TV Guide Mobile will feature celebrity Watchlists, including those from Sigourney Weaver, Tina Fey and James Van Der Beek.
For now, the TV Guide Mobile app lacks the ability to recommend shows based, for example, on users' Watchlist selections or those of their friends. Tanner said those features are on the road map.
On the advertising front, the 3.0 app introduces new ad units, including video showcases, branded content and the ability to sponsor the "Add to Watchlist" button.
The TV Guide App is available free to download from Apple's iTunes App Store here.
TVGuide.com, TV Guide Network and the TV Guide brand are owned by joint venture of Lionsgate and One Equity Partners, the private equity firm of JPMorgan Chase, which bought the properties from Macrovision Solutions (now Rovi) in 2009. TV Guide magazine was sold to OpenGate Capital.