What do you do when the world of TV is changing, but you represent a brand that stands for continuity? TVGuide.com’s new iOS app tries to bridge that divide by sticking with the good old grid guide, and augmenting it with a personalized watchlist.
Reblogged from GigaOM, by Janko Roettgers
Christy Tanner is a little bit like the Marissa Mayer of social TV. Tanner, who is the EVP and GM of TVGuide.com and TV Guide Mobile, has a huge audience – but most of those users aren’t exactly Foursquare- and Instagram-using Silicon Valley insiders. They don’t come to TVGuide.com to collect check-ins or badges, but to watch TV. A lot of it. And from a company like hers, they first and foremost expect what its name promises: a TV guide.
But TV is changing, and so is the way people are consuming it, regardless of whether they’re San Francisco hipsters or families in rural Texas. Netflix now has 24 million subscribers in the U.S., and more and more families are using multiple devices to access TV shows, with the iPad quickly becoming everyone’s favorite on-demand screen.
And with that, Tanner has a problem that’s a bit like the one Mayer is facing at Yahoo now: How do you evolve while the world changes around you without scaring away your huge legacy user base? Tanner has been doing this by keeping the traditional grid that most people associate with a brand like TV Guide alive, even though many TV startup founders tend to mock it. Instead of throwing it out altogether, she is augmenting it with the Watchlist, a personalized guide that first launched on TVGuide.com a year ago and has since been used by 500,000 people.
This week, the Watchlist is coming to the TV Guide iOS app, which now also features in-app links to content on iTunes, HBO Go and Hulu Plus. The Watchlist also allows users to check into shows and keep track of the episodes they’ve already seen, and there are some basic social sharing and commenting features – but don’t expect too many bells and whistles. Instead of social activity streams, the app emphasizes TV and celebrity gossip… [Read More]