The UK’s Tank Top TV launched back in August 2013 with a site that lets you search across the myriad of video on-demand and movie-streaming services to find the best place to view a TV show or movie. It also offers other neat features, such as the ability to add content to a unified ‘watch list’ and be alerted when it becomes available online.
But a pure consumer-facing proposition is no mean feat, whilst the affiliate revenue the service generates was only ever likely to get the startup so far. Instead, data, a B2B offering, or a combination of the two, is where its future surely lay.
Today London-based Tank Top TV, backed by Telefonica’s Wayra startup accelerator, appears to be moving in that direction. It’s launching an API to enable developers and other companies, such as smart TV and set-top box makers, to add online TV and movie search, recommendation and personalisation features based on the data it has been amassing.
Liz Rice, Tank Top TV co-founder and CEO, told me in a call the new developer API, which is free for non-commercial use, is primarily aimed at two groups: consumer electronics companies making smart TVs and Internet-connected set-top boxes, and search engines and portals who may want to build features akin to Aol-owned Moviefone’s newly revamped universal on-demand movie and TV search offering (Disclaimer: Aol also owns TechCrunch.)
With regards to the former, Rice describes these as “people who are building TV interfaces” and already offer various different video on-demand services through their own platforms, who can use Tank Top TV’s API to “help present a nicer interface to their users through a set-top box or smart TV.”
“The other category would probably be search engines and portals,” she adds. Or people who might want to offer a “Moviefone-style service.”
What’s also interesting is Rice says, compared to a year ago, the industry conversation has changed. Previously when the startup approached industry folk they’d question the consumer demand for ‘universal’ search across all of the available online/on-demand TV and movie services, with conventional wisdom being that users tend to stick to one provider only.
But, with rumours that Apple will soon re-boot its own TV strategy and the new Moviefone launch, there’s increasing interest in the kind of service and data Tank Top TV is offering.
Tank Top TV currently indexes content from over 25 video services in the UK and U.S., including major streaming and download services such as iTunes, Sky’s NowTV, Netflix and Hulu, alongside smaller services such as PictureBox and Distrify.
The full list follows below, while the API can be accessed here.
UK: 4oD, BBC, Classic Cinema, Demand 5, ITV Player, Amazon Instant, Blinkbox, Distrify, Dogwoof TV, EE Film Store, Film 4oD, Google Play, iTunes, KnowHow, Netflix, Now TV, PictureBox, Sainsburys, Sky, Sony, Virgin, Wuaki, Xbox
U.S.: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, Netflix, Redbox Instant.