2. October 2012–
Berlin-based social television startup Tweek just released its first app for iPhone, designed to guide users to new favourites – and help disrupt the TV industry while they're at it.
Today's "Tweek 2.0" release for iPhone is in some ways a reversal of the original app released for iPad in March this year. The biggest change is a personalised recommendation section – the first thing you see when you open up the new Tweek iPhone app.
"Before, we basically visualised what's happening in your social graph for TV," Tweek co-founder and CEO Marcel Düe explains. "If a friend liked something on Facebook or IMDB or if a friend watched something integrated with Facebook Open Graph, then we could see this and visualise it to you."
Now, instead of fairly passively visualising that data, Tweek is applying an algorithm – built over the summer and incorporating about eight million data points – to make personalised recommendations and really hone in on what users might want to watch.
Scroll left, and Tweek will filter to what's coming up in the next week then offer a curated section (different per country but not by user). Another new feature is the watchlist – a nod to the different use cases between iPhone (used on-the-go) and iPad (used on the couch).
The iPhone factor – Tweek's numbers so far
The move to iPhone should give Tweek a boost in reach. Düe's not revealing exact user numbers so far but is happy to say it's "less than 100,000, more than 10,000" with 75 per cent of those users in Germany and the rest in Tweek's second market, the UK.
For Tweek, content partners are just as important a measure of success. So far, Tweek is partnering with Netflix and iTunes in the UK and, in Germany, Das Erste Mediathek, ZDF Mediathek, Zattoo, iTunes, Lovefilm, BBC iPlayer and Dailyme.
It's by directing users to where they can watch the content they discover that Tweek – a free app – brings in revenue, ranging between 10 per cent and 35 per cent depending on the deal. As with most startups at this stage, the company isn't profitable – it's still "comfortable", though, having raised seed funding from Catagonia, BMP and Euro Serve Media late last year.
"We watch Mad Men, not AMC"
Tweek's ultimate aim is to provide a content first, channel second discovery experience and help catch TV up to the online revolution that's already taken place for music.
Other companies working on the problem of what to watch and where to find it include Fanhattan in the US, Clicker, GetGlue and newcomer in Berlin FOUNDD. Still more are also making a play for the "second screen" experience, including Zeebox in the UK and TunedIn, Zapitano and Wywy in Germany.
"This is still a very open, innovative space – nothing's clear yet, basically," Düe says. That applies to Tweek, too, but – so far – it seems to be earning its place in the social TV startup lineup. Just in time for the Berlin winter...