Social TV Startup GetGlue Plots Expansion With $12M in New Funding

Tech entrepreneur Alex Iskold has always been a huge entertainment fan, especially when it comes to his favorite TV shows, but a few years back he was frustrated by what he saw as a major void in social media. “Even though I was on Facebook and Twitter, it was hard for me to find out what my friends were watching on TV,” he says.

So in late 2009, Iskold started GetGlue, a company that provides multiple platforms for TV fans to congregate around their favorite shows. GetGlue has acquired quite a following in its short history: 2 million people use its mobile and Web tools, the company says, and 75 TV networks are now using GetGlue to reach out directly to their fans. That was what inspired the $12 million funding round GetGlue announced yesterday, says Habib Kairouz, managing partner at Rho Ventures, which led the round. “An emerging, strong trend is that people are using their iPads and iPhones while they’re watching TV,” Kairouz says. “GetGlue does a very good job of working within the television ecosystem to provide additional value.”

GetGlue allows people to “check in” to their favorite shows while they’re watching them. They can then follow the stream of conversation from other fans, and get access to exclusive content and coupons offered by the networks and their sponsors. Iskold says GetGlue has put a lot of effort into tailoring the experience to each user, and to eliminating the “noise” that’s common on other social-networking sites—such as nonsensical comments. “We built a filtering technology that in real-time removes what it deems uninteresting,” he says. Users can also follow people in a Twitter-esque way, such as their offline friends or other GetGlue-rs who they find titillating. “Comments [about a show] from people you know will be the ones you see first,” Iskold says.

But similar to other members of the new class of tech startups, GetGlue is still figuring out how to monetize its offerings. “We are largely a pre-revenue company,” Iskold admits. The new funding, he says, will allow the company to continue to expand its user base, which he hopes will lead to new revenue opportunities.

Iskold predicts that most of GetGlue’s revenues will come from advertising—and the company has some early experiences from which to build. For example, during the most recent season of The X Factor, Pepsi ran a campaign on GetGlue. During the show’s six-month run, … Next Page »

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