Fox, Other Nets Try New Way of Nagging You to Watch Their Shows

Startup Dijit Media inks deals with Fox Broadcasting and 10 cable networks for show-reminder alerts

Fox Broadcasting is among TV networks using a “reminder button” from startup Dijit Media on their websites — a feature that prompts fans who sign up to tune in to shows 30 minutes prior to airtime.

BBC America and Turner Broadcasting’s truTV are also using Dijit’s reminder service to promote their current lineups, and eight other cable networks are soon to follow, according to Dijit. All told, the Dijit reminder button is now live on about 80 show pages.

Users who click on the reminder buttons must register for Dijit’s NextGuide service, which provides a personalized second-screen entertainment guide across linear TV and streaming video, and select their TV providers. Reminders for selected shows are delivered by email or via the NextGuide iOS app a half-hour prior to an episode’s scheduled broadcast time.

“It completely changes our dynamic,” Dijit CEO Jeremy Toeman said. “We now have a direct-response mechanism with users that tracks intent to watch.”

While individual nets and operators also offer similar reminder features in their apps, “we are the Switzerland of reminders,” Toeman said, spanning multiple pay TV operators and networks.

Dijit is offering the service for no charge to TV networks and other media companies, to drive usage of its app. The startup plans to sell targeted ads in the NextGuide app, based on the preferences of individual users.

Toeman declined to disclose how many people are using NextGuide, but said the number of users who previously signed up for reminder notifications was in the “low tens of thousands.” He expects the deals with Fox and other networks to boost use of the app significantly.

Does it really boost tune-in? Hard to know for sure, but Dijit says early results are very promising. The company says the average NextGuide user sets three reminders, and that reminder email open rates are more than double the industry average range of between 12% and 20%. (For season premieres, Toeman said, open rates on reminders have peaked at 56%.) In addition, within the first three weeks of setting a reminder, 20% of users create an additional reminder on the same network.

The NextGuide reminder service also provides click-to-record-to-DVR buttons for Comcast, DirecTV and Dish Network subscribers (with support for other operators in the works). And in addition to live TV episodes, the reminder feature alerts users when new episodes are available on streaming and download services including Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and iTunes. Dijit plans to add SMS text alerts and an Android version of its app soon.

The Dijit reminder button can be added to a website, banner ad campaign, mobile app or social site either via an HTML link or embedded code, and functions similar to a Facebook “Like” button.

San Francisco-based Dijit Media’s investors include venture-capital firms Menlo Ventures and Alsop Louie Partners. The company has eight full-time employees.

Toeman founded Dijit in 2009 with Adam Burg, the company’s VP of business development. Previously the two ran consulting firm Stage Two, which worked with clients including Boxee, Vudu, Clicker.com, Electronic Arts and Best Buy. Prior to that Toeman was VP of products for Sling Media, acquired by Charlie Ergen’s EchoStar Communications in 2007.

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