Startup banks on TV show tweets

November 26, 2010

— By Alastair Goldfisher. This article initially appeared on PE Hub. —

At the NewTeeVee Conference in San Francisco earlier this month, a Twitter executive noted more people are using Twitter while they watch TV to comment on programs and interact with others doing the same.

That observation is good news for TVmoment, a San Francisco-based startup (located in the pariSoma loft) that is aiming to launch soon. TVmoment, started earlier this year by co-founders Frederik Fleck and Gaylord Zach, is currently in testing mode, but the service allows users to chat online with others about their favorite shows and movies while watching TV.

In some ways, TVmoment is similar to others in the crowded TV social space, such as GetGlue, Miso, Philo and Tunerfish. TVmoment provides chat rooms, social functions and check-ins. But TVmoment has also developed server technology to sync your Internet with your TV, so when you change what channel you’re watching, the audio receiver on your laptop will recognize what show you changed to, and then those in your social network on TVmoment will be notified of the switch, assuming you opted-in to that choice. A video demo is posted below.

“There are all kinds of possibilities with TV and social interaction,” Fleck said. “The early first step was sites that told other users what you were watching. We want to take that a step further.”

Fleck, CEO, said he has been meeting with potential investors on both coasts, including Felicis Ventures, to raise an “angel-size” round of less than $1 million. He has not yet closed a deal. He and Zach, CTO, are in discussions to launch their service soon, potentially at the same time as a major TV event, such as the Super Bowl or an awards show.

Fleck and Zach said they’re self-funding their operation now and are using the proceeds they made from selling their previous UK-based startup, called Ostrich Media, which combined TV production and interactive game shows.

The NewTeeVee conference and the meshing of TV and the Internet is no surprise to TVmoment. Citing statistics from the Nielsen Co, Fleck points out 60 percent of Americans are already using TV and the Internet at the same time for about 3.5 hours a month, and that amount is growing. What’s more, Fleck said 70 percent of active social networking users are likely to watch a TV show based on a friend’s recommendation.

Without a doubt, the TV and Internet industries have been talking for years about the merging of the two media. With the advent of Google TV and the efforts of startups, such as TVmoment, more and more of us will likely be tuning into a social TV app soon.

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