Mobile

Can Yahoo win at social TV with IntoNow?

It looks like Yahoo is the latest competitor in the social TV market, with today’s announcement that it has acquired startup IntoNow.

I was pretty impressed with IntoNow when it launched in January. On top of the basic ability to “check in” to a TV show, IntoNow’s mobile app added cool features like Netflix integration and the ability to see what’s on now that your friends have watched in the past. Most significantly, its technology offered the Shazam-like ability to automatically recognize a show by listening to a few seconds of sound.

IntoNow spun out of another startup called Auditude. Yahoo isn’t disclosing the price of the deal, but TechCrunch writes that it was between $20 million and $30 million, while AllThingsDigital says it was $15 million in cash, $2 million in stock, and $5 million more in potential earnouts.

As a standalone product, IntoNow has potential, but it’s competing with a flood of other apps like Miso (which is backed by Google Ventures), GetGlue, and Comcast’s Tunerfish. Perhaps its real promise for Yahoo is as a social layer on Yahoo’s existing film and TV websites, enticing users to engage more with Yahoo content and therefore bring in more money for Yahoo ads. In a press release, Yahoo says IntoNow “will enable Yahoo! to provide enhanced media experiences and video programming, bolstering its social engagement across the Yahoo! network and on all screens.”

The acquisition, of course, comes at a time when Yahoo claims to be turning itself around, while also announcing substantial layoffs and the elimination of popular products like Delicious. The company claimed those cuts will help it focus on key priorities. We’ll see if IntoNow remains on that list of priorities.

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