There’s no shortage of mobile applications that serve as portable guides to the shows, specials, and movies now playing on our television sets, but a company called Yidio is today launching a new mobile application for iPhone that addresses the way users are “watching TV” today: via other mobile apps like Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, YouTube, and more. Yidio’s new app makes it easy to search for any TV show or movie across free, paid and subscription-based services, then immediately launch that app to begin watching the video in question with just a tap.
The company, founded in 2008, currently offers an online guide to TV and Internet video that includes over a million programming options from hundreds of content providers. The website sees over 7 million monthly visitors, but those numbers are due for a fall as users’ viewing behavior shifts away from so-called “appointment TV” and web video, and moves more towards streaming video on demand via portable devices.
There are many problems today with streaming video services, including the fact that premium cable channels don’t offer standalone subscriptions, not all TV shows are available via streaming on demand, and competitors like Netflix and Amazon are snatching up exclusive rights to programs — meaning if you can only afford one subscription service in your household, you’ll be missing out on something good airing somewhere else.
But the problem Yidio addresses with its new app is access to the fragmented streaming video app ecosystem. Viewers today bond with favorite shows, movies or actors, not the network or service those appear on, and they just need a simple way to find out where that content can be found. This is what Yidio does.
The app lets you search across a large list of video providers, including big names like Netflix, Hulu Plus, iTunes, Amazon Prime, HBO GO, Crackle, ABC, PBS and Disney, as well as smaller brands like CWTV, Lifetime, truTV and Crunchyroll (an anime video provider). Yidio CEO and co-founder Brandon Eatros tells us that even more content providers are in the pipeline, including Showtime.
The company is also planning to increase access to children’s content, sports, cable TV providers and live events, and will then tackle international expansion, as well. “With the app developed on top of hundreds of custom APIs, it’s completely flexible with the ability to add and customize unlimited services as we expand,” Eatros explains.
Yidio’s homescreen features a section of scrolling new releases and popular content, as well as sections featuring popular free shows, recently aired TV, new Netflix movies, and more. When you go to search for something specific by keyword, the interface begins quickly populating the search results section as you type.
Then, on the video’s landing page, you can see which services offer the program or movie, and you can read more about it, view its Rotten Tomatoes rating and reviews, plus favorite it, mark it watched, or share with others.
You can also use the right-side navigation to browse just TV or just movies, browse by genre (e.g. “’80′s classics,” “Family Movie Night,” etc.), or by source (e.g. Netflix, HBO GO). The app also serves as a decent Netflix queue management tool, too, allowing you to add, remove and browse items in your Instant Queue and view your Netflix recommendations.
Yidio’s app is first available on the iPhone, though the iPad app is only 30 days out, and the Android version is coming next quarter. Eatros says they launched first on the iPhone because it’s the No. 1 mobile device visiting Yidio.com.
“We also believe that your mobile phone is something you take with you, own, personalize and really utilize the app on the go,” he adds. “Combined with Airplay or an HDMI cord – you can continue to use it when you get home on your big screen as a very smart, personalized and easy remote.”
Eatros and his brother Adam initially bootstrapped the company in 2008 before raising a small (by today’s standards) $350,000 angel round in 2009 from Appolicious CEO Alan Warms; Jamie Crouthamel (currently director at ValueClick); founding partners at Seaport Capital Jim Collis and Bill Luby; and Apex Venture Partners GP Lon Chow.
The company, profitable for four years, now has 35 employees.
The Yidio iPhone app is a free download here on iTunes.