Flingo rebrands as Samba TV, collaborates with Sony on smart TV apps

By Natan Edelsburg 

samba_logo[5]In January, we wrote about Flingo (now Samba TV) – a publisher of smart TV apps – demonstrating its new platform, Samba, at CES 2013. When we spoke with Ashwin Navin, CEO and Founder of Samba TV he described the platform as “blur[ring] the lines between first screen and second screen, between traditional TV and smart TV. For example, if someone is watching an episode of Comedy Central Roast live, Samba will recommend the 5 best Roast videos from the Web, so you can continue that viewing experience after the show is over, with one-click of your TV remote. Not sure which video you want? Check out a preview from your iPad first, and then fling the video you like to your TV.”

Now, Samba has partnered with Sony to launch its TV apps on Sony’s BRAVIA line of TVs and Blu-ray players. Apps from TMZ and TV Guide will be available at launch as well as access to content from A&E, Fox, and Vimeo. The apps will be free to users. To talk about the collaboration with Sony, how brands will benefit, and the decision to rebrand Flingo as Samba TV, we followed up with Navin.


Lost Remote: What does the collaboration with Sony mean for consumers? 
Ashwin Navin: People who own Sony TVs, Bluray players and set tops now have access to substantially more content through the Bravia family of products, with more content channels coming soon. They also have the ability to instantly interact with that content, including advertisements, with second-screen devices. For example, a consumer can easily fetch local showtimes while watching a movie trailer on their TV, or find the nearest dealer to test drive a car they see promoted within the content.

LR: When will the content be available on Sony devices? 
Navin: Consumers will be able to access the new content on Sony devices immediately.

LR: How do brands benefit from the partnership? 
Navin: Samba TV’s multi-screen ad experience reaches consumers on all their devices. From TV to tablets to mobile, Samba TV brings brands closer to their target audiences and allows brands to deliver a consistent brand experience. With the Sony partnerships, that reach is expanded. In recognition of the fact that more than 80% of people multitask while watching TV, this is a huge opportunity for brands and agencies that leverage television for brand development. The canvas for storytelling on television has never been more exciting.

LR: Can you explain a bit more about your reasoning behind the re-brand from Flingo to Samba TV? 
Navin: Back in 2009, we released an open source project called Flingo and that became our company name. All of our efforts as a business are tied into the Samba product so we decided to take that up to the top-level of our brand architecture. We believe that our brand is much more than our name – it’s about what we believe in. While Flingo enabled access to new content on TV, we think what the world needs right now is not access to more content, but more meaningful connections to content. Our new brand resembles a heart because we believe people want to dig deeper into their favorite shows, and expand on TV’s most memorable moments. Our new brand represents the best things about TV: everything from laughing with your friends to anticipating what happens on the next episode. We create our products to make these moments more memorable, and if we are successful, it benefits everyone in the value chain – from the broadcaster, the advertiser, device manufacturer and ultimately the consumer.