IntoNow Uses Audio-Recognition Technology to Power Social TV

IntoNow--a Silicon Valley-based social-TV/programming-discovery company that bills itself as having been founded by veterans of Google, Microsoft, IDEO, MTV Networks and Stanford University's artificial intelligence program--emerged from stealth mode, Monday, with two new products: SoundPrint, a patented technology platform that the company claims can automatically identify live TV content and any previously aired content from the past five years (as well as on-demand programming); and IntoNow, a free iOS (i.e. iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) companion application that it says leverages SoundPrint to help viewers connect and engage with their friends around TV shows. Among other things, the two products automate--or, rather, eliminate--the process of "checking in" to TV programming that has become a key feature of a number of emerging social-TV platforms. "Television has always been a source of social engagement, and yet there's never been an easy way for people to create connections with their friends around the shows they are into," IntoNow founder and CEO, Adam Cahan (who was previously CEO of Auditude and EVP of strategy and business development at MTV Networks), said in a prepared statement. "This is an $80 billion market, and what we see here is the potential to automatically connect audiences, content owners, and advertisers with a simple click of a button."

Because SoundPrint can precisely identify and validate what people are watching at a particular moment (note: the company claims, for example, that it can easily distinguish between programming and commercials--a capability that will presumably eventually help it monetize the technology), the company says, IntoNow can create "real connections" between consumers and content owners, and eventually between consumers and advertisers. The company says that the first version of the IntoNow application allows viewers to:

  • Find out what their friends are watching, and engage in discussion with them via their favorite social networks.

  • Discover which shows they have in common with others and which of them are on-air right now.

  • Receive relevant and more personal recommendations.

  • Learn more about what's on TV through show info and "one-click access" to IMDb; and then add newly discovered shows to their Netflix queue or purchase them through iTunes.

According to IntoNow, its SoundPrint audio-recognition technology 1) indexes the audio that is being generated from the viewer's television, computer or mobile device; 2) identifies that content down to the airing and episode; and 3) provides all the data and links associated with it--all within "a matter of seconds." The company claims to have used SoundPrint to have indexed over 140 million minutes of broadcast TV--equivalent to over 266 years of content or 2.6 million airings. It says that it is building on that database every second, since it monitors over 130 channels in order to index new content in real time. It also says that it is seeking to work with third parties (for example, connected-TV manufacturers) that are interested in building upon the SoundPrint technology and integrating it into their own products; and that it is developing an Android version of the IntoNow companion app.




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