Reblogged from Bloomberg Business Week, by Adam Satariano
Andrew Fisher, chief executive officer of Shazam Entertainment
Shazam seemed like magic when it debuted in 2008 on the iPhone. The app can identify nearly any song playing on the radio, even over the din of a coffee shop. It’s been downloaded more than 200 million times and become modestly successful; by steering buyers to iTunes (AAPL) and other music services, it generated about $24 million in revenue for the 12 months ending June 2011, the most recent figures available.
Now Shazam Entertainment is moving away from its musical roots. David Jones, vice president of marketing, says Shazam’s audio-matching technology can do more than help barflies settle bets about what’s playing on the jukebox. It can, he says, help advertisers and broadcasters make money from TV viewers increasingly distracted by iPhones and iPads. According to Nielsen (NLSN), more than 40 percent of tablet and smartphone owners use their devices to read e-mail or scan the news while watching TV. Instead of fighting this attention-deficit trend, Shazam says media companies and marketers should embrace it.
Over the past 18 months Shazam has built technology so viewers can use the app to take an audio snapshot of TV shows and ads as they would a song. (The company’s name is the verb that describes this action: “Just Shazam it.”) During the Super Bowl, for instance, commercials from Toyota Motor (TM) included a small logo prompting watchers to Shazam the ad to enter a contest to win a Camry. The startup counted more than a million tags on ads from Toyota, PepsiCo (PEP), and other game sponsors.
Shazam now offers the same feature for TV shows and live events. The big test will come during the Summer Olympics, which begin July 27. Through a partnership with NBC Sports (CMCSA), viewers will be able to use Shazam to get extra info about athletes and events and to participate in polls as they watch… [Full Story]