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While plenty of apps have tried to make television a social experience, the smart remote app Peel is tapping into an existing social network for conversations around your favorite show.
For its redesigned app launching on Android today, Peel has implemented a patent-pending solution for finding trending Twitter conversations. So the next time you decide to tweet about your favorite character dying on Game of Thrones, Peel can make sure you’re using the proper hashtag.
“I’m a firm believer that the social TV market never existed … or at the very least that it’s dead,” said Peel cofounder and CEO Thiru Arunachalam in an interview with VentureBeat. “I believe Twitter is the only true social TV [network] — or maybe Facebook as well.”
After some smart partnerships with Samsung, HTC, and other companies last year, Peel now has more than 60 million people using its Android smart remote app. While the company initially relied on a tiny gadget to send remote signals to your TV, Peel now integrates with Android phones with built-in infra-red sensors. Now, Peel’s app can help you find what to watch and tune your TV to the correct channel.
Apps like Miso and GetGlue have focused on check-ins, stickers, and a variety of other gimmicks to help you engage with your favorite shows. But for the most part, TV fans typically head to their favorite social media sites to chat about TV. Peel is simply going where the audience is going.
It’s easy enough to figure out the most popular hashtag for TV shows, but Peel’s algorithm can also highlight new hashtags that pop up spontaneously. The company has also integrated extensive Twitter Card functionality, which allows Peel users to tune directly to shows on their television by clicking on a tweet. Arunachalam hinted that Peel is working together with Twitter on this integration, but he declined to elaborate.
Mountain View, Calif.-based Peel was founded in 2009 and has raised around $42 million in funding so far from Translink Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and others.