More people than ever are cutting their ties to big cable, and opting to either cut the cord, or just dramatically pare down their cable TV packages. According to Nielsen’s data, the top 40 cable channels have lost an average of 3.2 million subscribers over the past four years. That leaves room for startups catering to the needs of these viewers, who have either replaced or now heavily supplement their traditional TV viewing with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.
Case in point: a new service called JustWatch, launching today, wants to become a resource for these viewers, by offering a streaming search engine designed just for cord cutters.
The startup is focused on serving an international crowd of cord cutters, including, but not limited to, the U.S. It will soon begin supporting audiences in Germany and Brazil, following its U.S. debut.
The idea, explains co-founder and CEO David Croyé, is to help people figure out where to watch a movie or show without having to log into every service provider you’re using and perform a search. With JustWatch, the search engine shows you whether a piece of content is available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or elsewhere. And if it’s available for rent, it lets you know where you can get it for the best price.
In addition, JustWatch includes a feature that heavy streaming media consumers will appreciate: it updates every day to let you know if your favorite provider has added new content. (For now, this feature is limited to movies, but will expand in time.)
“I was missing that feature myself on existing streaming aggregators, after I had the feeling I’d already seen everything I wanted to watch on each provider,” explains Croyé.
Users can also take advantage of the search engine’s filters in order to drill down into selections by year, genre, and soon, ratings, as sourced by sites like Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB.
The company is working to roll out its own native applications, too, we’re told.
The idea of offering a service for cord cutters, or those who just want to know when and where streaming content can be found, is not unique, of course.
Today, many cord cutters and others use services like Yidio, Instantwatcher and CanIStreamIt, all of which offer similar features, and are further developed in many cases. But JustWatch’s vision is to build the biggest user base around movie and TV taste profiles worldwide, as opposed to stateside, like some of its competitors.
Eventually, the company’s plan is help movie studios retarget film fans via JustWatch’s own integrated adtech using programmatic and real-time bidding.
“The cord cutting trend is a big problem for the movie industry, because Hollywood is still spending more than 70% of their budgets on linear tv, but the young movie audience who is responsible for the biggest chunk of the box office is spending a lot more time online – for example, on YouTube and Facebook – and this trend is accelerating rapidly,” says Croyé.
“So the movie industry will have to follow the eyeballs mobile and online and try to find their target audience for new movie releases in a fragmented online and mobile world,” he adds.
Early tests of the service’s targeting algorithms showed a 106% better click-through rate on movie banners, and 46% better user engagement in terms of trailer views and time on site, the company claims.
Croyé, who previously served as CMO at European mobile coupons service kaufDA, founded JustWatch along with a small team whose background includes time at adtech company Trademob, streaming site MyVideo, as well as kaufDA. The service is self-funded with money Croyé reinvested following the kaufDA exit to German publishing house Axel Springer.
JustWatch, now a team of ten, is based in Berlin.
For more on cord-cutting, follow along with my diary of a cord cutter in 2015.