All Eyes Are On TV Guide’s New iPhone App as a Source of Social Data

By Devon Glenn 

An old media classic has gotten a new media update. TV Guide has released a new app for the iPhone that features personalized watchlists, instant streaming, and social check-ins. Networks and advertisers have already started looking at the numbers to make decisions about programming and ad placement.

On the new mobile app, viewers will be able to watch shows instantly through ABC, ABC Family, Crackle, CW, Hulu Plus, HBO GO,and iTunes. An “I’ll Watch” button helps viewers connect with the rest of the community to talk about their favorites.

The main draw of the app is the watchlist, which allows users to check off show titles to get updates on the ones they already like or are interesting in seeing. More than 500,000 viewers have created watchlists since TV Guide first released the feature.

The actors are also getting involved with curated watchlists from What’s Trending’s Shira Lazar and videos from Tina Fey, James Van Der Beek, and Sigourney Weaver.

But don’t get too excited yet. According to CNET“The feature, however, is currently far from perfect. I added David Lynch (always my favorite test) and found a number of episodes of “Twin Peaks” scattered hodgepodge, with links to iTunes and Hulu Plus, along with movies like ‘Eraserhead’ and ‘Blue Velvet,’ but TV shows weren’t collected into a single ‘Twin Peaks’ show icon. Clicking the Hulu Plus link on these shows didn’t successfully launch the episode in Hulu Plus, either: I received the Hulu Plus message ‘an error has occurred.’ Also, for some odd reason, my David Lynch page has dozens of episodes of ‘The Cleveland Show.'”

TechCrunch notes that “While a lot of the focus has been on the consumer experience, the new TV Guide app also has some benefit for advertisers. TV Guide has created opportunities for new ad units that go beyond just banners, including video showcases, branded content, and even sponsorships for its ‘Add to Watchlist’ button.”

According to BetaBeat, “AdAge has started regularly publishing Watchlist data, like which new fall shows have been added, but Ms. Tanner said TV Guide is waiting until it gets 1 million users before they start building a recommendations tool off of the results. For now, however, the data helps TV Guide lockdown advertisers since the company is able to approach specific shows and entice them to advertise if a show is a popular, or if it isn’t. (Based on advertising revenue, TV Guide Digital has been profitable for the past two years.)”

In fact, sees 25 million unique visitors every month, an audience that has grown significantly from 4 million readers in 2006. Despite the publication’s long history, the readers are mostly under 35 years old and view 22 pages each per visit. As for the mobile app, the first generation was downloaded 7 million times on both iOS and Android devices.