With the number of cord cutters on the rise, and even pay TV subscribers spending more of their time streaming video from services like Netflix and Amazon, there’s a growing need for tools that make the experience of finding new and quality content to watch better and easier. That’s especially true since there’s no universal “TV guide” that spans across services, which each have their own exclusive titles, availability windows, and their own disparate sets of recommendations. Meanwhile, it’s not only hard for consumers to find things to watch, it’s hard to remember where and when you can watch them, too.
Today, an app called Legit is launching with hopes of becoming the go-to watchlist for finding any movie or TV show across service, streaming or otherwise. It even helps you figure out if movies are worth seeing in the theaters, or if you can wait for the digital release.
Currently, Legit focuses on content that can be found on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube or iTunes, as well as in theaters. At first launch, the app asks you about favorite genres, movies, and the platforms you use, in order to customize the experience. You can then dive into Legit to find things to add to your watchlist, track friends’ ratings, and more. You can even quickly poll friends about their likes on the app or on its Apple Watch counterpart.
Legit was co-founded by CEO Andrew Busey, COO Tony Chen, and CTO Isao Jonas, and includes a team that’s ex-Zynga, ex-Yahoo, and ex-Shopzilla. Prior to Legit, Busey was a Venture Partner at Austin Ventures, and previously sold his social media software company Pluck to Demand Media. He also worked on various key web technologies in his past, such the first web browser Mosaic, iChat, and WebCenter.
The company was originally working on an anonymous messaging app called Banter, but later chose to refocus on something they were more passionate about – movies and TV. With Legit, the goal is to essentially build a product around an activity that, today, often takes place offline – asking friends for recommendations of what to watch.
While there are other apps that let you track where shows can be found on various services, like Fan TV or Yidio, for example, Legit’s differentiating feature is that it will focus on helping users find more personal and relevant recommendations.
At present, the app works with your Facebook friend list, and compares your tastes with those of your friends based on how you’ve each rated things. This allows Legit to determine how compatible the two of you are, in terms of your interests. In the app, this is displayed using a colored circle around the user icon (i.e., red, yellow or green.).
The system is an improvement over the simplified Facebook integration offered today by Netflix, which simply shows you what your Facebook friends are watching.
As Chen explains, not everyone has the same interests, so those recommendations often fall short. “Some of us have really different tastes,” he says. “And later on, we would want to make [our recommendations] more granular.” For example, two friends may find themselves highly compatible in the sci-fi genre, but not in musicals, he continues. “That’s where we want that to go – you can split it out by genre.”
Today, the friend list in Legit is sorted by this compatibility index, plus it sorts its ratings and reviews based on that compatibility, as well. That means you’ll see reviews from friends with similar tastes first, which goes a long way to improving content discovery.
In the future, the company plans to expand this feature to include a Twitter-like follower/following model, so you can connect with various tastemakers – like movie critics – outside your own social graph.
Legit today is generating revenue by way of referrals, but in the long-term, the data it has on people’s likes and dislikes could be valuable to film marketers, Chen notes.
It’s been said that we’re in a new “golden age of television,” where advances in technology have led to the release of more high-quality shows. The problem is not finding something good to watch, but finding something good to watch first which also better matches up with your own personal preferences.
That’s a challenge few of today’s “TV watchlist” apps have solved.
The Austin-based team of six is backed by $1.5 million in angel funding.
The Legit app is a free download on iOS and Android, and is available on the web. (A prior version of the app was released earlier this year, but was more of a proof-of-concept/MVP used by friends and family. Today’s release is the official public debut.)