Whipclip tried to make a business out of letting TV fans share short, licensed clips of their favorite shows online — but that didn’t pan out. Now the company has pivoted: Redubbed as TV Time, it offers a social app that lets users track their favorite television programs across multiple services and connect with other fans.
TV Time’s app has about 1 million daily active users, according to CEO Richard Rosenblatt. And now that it has amassed a database of viewer behavior about the shows they love, it wants to sell that data to networks, studios and streaming-video services.
To head up those sales efforts, TV Time has hired Carol Hanley as chief revenue officer. Hanley was most recently chief revenue officer at Deluxe Entertainment Services Group and before that was a longtime Nielsen and Arbitron exec. She officially joined Santa Monica-based TV Time on Nov. 2.
Subscription VOD services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu don’t release their viewership data, and “we are in a unique position to fill those gaps in viewership data for our partners,” Hanley said. Individual platforms “have information on their own but they don’t have information on competitors. We’ll help them understand that dimensional relationship.”
Nielsen earlier this month launched a new tracking service measuring viewership on SVOD platforms, including Netflix, and several other firms like Parrot Analytics and 7Park Data are also in that game. But according to TV Time’s execs, the social nature of its app provides data around what TV shows people are interacting with and watching that’s different from what others offer.
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TV Time tracks more than 50,000 shows and users have tracked more than 7 billion TV episodes to date. On a monthly basis, users check into the app more than 37 million times and creates and shares some 500,000 memes, GIFs, video reactions and comments every month. Users also can add stickers, apply Instagram-like filters and share their reactions across their social channels. In an update later this month, TV Time also will begin recommending news shows to users based on their previous activity.
TV Time changed its name from Whipclip in May 2017, when the previous Whipclip app was retired and users were migrated to the new app. That came after the company in December 2016 acquired a small Paris-based startup called TVShow Time; its three employees — CEO Antonio Pinto and his partners Talal Mazroui and Frederic Ye — are now working for TV Time.
“TV Time begins to mirror the way people consume episodic content today,” Hanley said. “We can measure and report on that, and ultimately help creators of that episodic content attract more viewers.”
Hanley, prior to joining TV Time, was chief revenue officer of Deluxe Entertainment, heading corporate sales strategy for the company. Before that she spent 13 years as EVP, chief revenue and marketing officer for Nielsen Audio and also served as SVP and chief revenue officer of Arbitron for six years before it was acquired by Nielsen.
To boost adoption of the app, TV Time has partnered with talent such as Alexander Ludwig (“Vikings”) and Lori Petty (“Orange Is The New Black”) to create exclusive content and engage directly with fans across the app. It’s also developing regular fan programming in the form of quizzes, podcasts, articles, polls and videos. “We have the same challenges all tech companies have – how do we scale and keep users engaged, to go from 1 million to 10 million users,” Rosenblatt said.
TV Time’s listing data largely comes from open-source provider TheTVDB.com, supplemented with data from Nielsen’s Gracenote.
Founded in 2014, the company has raised $60 million from investors include WME, Eminence Capital, IVP, Raine Ventures, Greycroft, and individual industry execs including Ari Emanuel, Peter Guber, Steve Bornstein, Scooter Braun, Gordon Crawford and Ron Zuckerman. TV Time currently has about 25 employees.
The TV Time app is available free to download on Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store. The app offers a $1.99 monthly subscription, which strips out ads and provides access to special features like custom posters and fan art.
Rosenblatt, who before co-founding Whipclip was CEO of Demand Media, said the original Whipclip model had a few issues, including that it “was impossible to get every clip users wanted” licensed for inclusion in the app given the plethora of TV content being produced. “What users actually wanted was a way to find and track TV shows they should watch,” he said.