Does the world need another streaming entertainment recommendations app? Bingie co-founder and CEO Joey Lane believes there’s a big opportunity for his company to stake out territory as a new virtual watercooler for finding out about — and discussing — new TV shows and movies.
Bingie, which carries the tagline “Never wonder what to watch again,” officially launched this week in Apple’s App Store. Whereas other recommendation apps are use algorithms based on your preferences or viewing history, Bingie is designed to put “trusted suggestions” from friends and family front and center.
“We call it the human algorithm,” Lane said. “When it comes down to it, we trust those closest to us to actually give us worthwhile show and movie suggestions.”
Bingie aggregates info from TV shows and movies from a multiple streaming services and networks including Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV Plus and HBO Max.
Bingie users can invite friends to join the app, share a recommendation, and begin a chat with them all in one “Magic Friend” link that doesn’t need special access to your phone contacts. Once you share a recommendation, an internal group chat is automatically created based on the show or movie, where you and your friends can share thoughts and opinions.
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There’s no shortage of recommendation and streaming-guide apps for finding and tracking TV shows and movies, including TV Time, Reelgood, JustWatch, Yidio and Ranker’s Watchworthy. According to Lane, what makes Bingie different is the emphasis on social recommendations. “We’re not just a digital TV guide,” he said. “We really see the magic of Bingie in the conversation, in the debate.”
And compared with general social media services like Facebook or Twitter, the app provides with a dedicated place to discuss entertainment. “It’s a social setting where it’s not in public, and it’s just about TV shows and movies, not politics or anything else,” said Lane.
Bingie automatically adds a title to a user’s watchlist every time a friend recommends something to them, and the app also includes a search function to find content across streaming services and networks. According to Lane, Bingie aggregates data about shows and movies from a variety of sources.
Bingie was co-created with creative agency Wonderful Collective, which is headed by Matt Knox. L.A.-based Bingie has 10 employees and was formed in January 2020. Lane said the startup raised a friends-and-family seed round of funding; he declined to disclose the amount of investment.
Like other early-stage tech startups, Bingie doesn’t have revenue coming in the door at launch. At some point, Lane said, the app will include advertising (“I have a deep understanding of how that works and not make it look like Nascar,” he said) and Bingie also is looking at conducting paid surveys of its users on behalf of entertainment clients and other companies once it gets to a sizable user base.
Lane, a serial entrepreneur, previously co-founded programmatic display-ads company Meteora, which was sold to HBP Inc., a provider of location-based marketing solutions to retail, automotive, and real estate sectors. Before Meteora, Lane was president and CEO of NextJet Technologies, a supply-chain management software company.
Bingie (bingie.tv) is currently available only for iOS. Lane said versions for the web and Android version will be available soon.