Provo, Utah-based video discovery startup i.TV has acquired GetGlue, we’ve learned, as consolidation in the market for second-screen or companion TV apps continues. The acquisition, which is expected to be announced soon, marks a bit of an inglorious exit for GetGlue, which had raised $24 million since being founded and had an earlier deal worth $70 million fall through earlier this year.
GetGlue, of course, was one of the early social TV pioneers, promising to help drive mobile and tablet users to tune in to more TV shows and get them more engaged with the content through its app. The idea was that people were already on their phones while they watched TV, so why not try to hook them on a new, TV-based social network?
Leveraging Foursquare-like check-ins to TV shows, the app helped users share what they were watching, hopefully driving others to watch that same thing as well. Later, as the hype around TV check-ins began to wane, GetGlue pivoted to be more of a TV discovery platform.
Last year, GetGlue had agree to be acquired by social TV competitor Viggle, a company buoyed by billionaire investor and chairman Robert Sillerman. But that deal hinged on Viggle being able to secure additional funding from outside investors, and when that funding failed to materialize, the deal was called off.
Since then, GetGlue has apparently continued shopping itself around. It’s also shuffled management while looking for a buyer — over the summer it brought on digital media veteran Evan Krauss as president. And sometime between then and now founder and CEO Alex Iskold stepped down. He still remains chairman of the company, but sources say he’s not involved in day-to-day operations.
You probably know less about i.TV, a company which has also been around for about five years and was also founded with the hope of connecting mobile and tablet users with TV and streaming content they might find interesting.
After launching in 2008 to give video viewers with a mobile platform for finding and discovering interesting content, i.TV has been relatively quiet over the last several years. It had launched a few versions of an app that provided ways to browse and get more info about streaming video options, as well as a remote control to power navigating traditional TV offerings.
But behind the scenes, it seems to be working with various content providers — including Entertainment Weekly, as well as AOL-owned properties like Huffington Post TV and AOL TV — to power navigation and discovery of videos on their apps. A little more than a year ago, it got its biggest deal yet, as it powered video discovery for Nintendo’s Wii U (a device I don’t think anyone actually bought).
The company also has quietly raised some capital. In August, i.TV closed a $9.2 million round of funding, according to an SEC filing. But that funding isn’t going toward the purchase of GetGlue, as we’ve heard that the acquisition was an all-stock deal.
It’s not clear how the newly funded i.TV will use the GetGlue assets, or who will end up joining the company — if anyone. But this isn’t the first bit of consolidation among social TV, second-screen, or TV check-in apps. In January, Dijit Media, the company behind the NextGuide TV discovery app, acquired the assets of social TV startup Miso.