There are a few places where users can already find their favorite TV spots online, but no definitive repository of commercials. That's why iSpot.tv wants to be the place to find TV ads online. The startup has been working to catalog commercials by automatically tracking and monitoring them from live TV.
Using proprietary audio and video fingerprinting technology, the company extracts product advertisements, movie trailers, and other show promos, and then catalogs them by product and brand. Once a commercial is in its database, it then tracks that ad whenever it appears on a number of broadcast and cable networks. As a result, it has a huge library of content already: The startup claims to have tracked down more than 13,200 commercials that have been aired more than 1.8 million times.
While offering up a repository of ads could be valuable to consumers, the bigger picture here is iSpot.tv's hopes to provide data around those ads. It's looking to partner with brands and agencies to get more relevant metadata around the ads that it scrapes, while also keeping track of when they appear to help measure effectiveness.
There's another part of this story, though - in addition to its commercial destination site, iSpot.tv wants to help provide brands and marketers with tools to cash in on the number of people who are using mobile devices while watching TV ads. More shows are using hashtags to increase promotion on sites like Twitter, and brands are doing so as well. iSpot.tv wants to help advertisers increase brand awareness with a tool that will allow marketers to connect directly with users tweeting about their products.
It works like this: Advertisers can incorporate hashtags into their ads to enable users to get coupons or discounts for goods by tweeting about a certain platform. The platform then automatically recognizes when a Twitter user has tweeted using that hashtag, and uses the brand account or another account to reply to the user with a link to redeem the deal through a mobile-optimized website. Since iSpot.tv can track different airings of the same ad, it will give brands real-time information about when those ads are most effective in driving user awareness.
iSpot.tv was founded by former Demand Media executives, including former CTO Sean Muller, who is co-founder and CEO of the new venture. Paul Stahura, who was founder and CEO of eNom before selling to Demand Media, is also on the board and has invested in the startup. The company has raised $575,000 in seed funding that also included participation from Pagewise co-founder David Hehman, Hillclimb Media founders Doug Colbeck and Bryce Stevens, LoveToKnow founder Howard Love, and Oversee.net founder Fred Hsu, among others.