JustWatch, a startup that launched earlier this year offering a search engine that helps cord cutters figure out where to watch their favorite programs and movies, is now expanding to mobile. The company has released both iOS and Android applications that help you find where to watch movies and shows, as well as discover new and popular content across a variety of services, including Netflix, Amazon, HBO NOW, Showtime, Hulu, iTunes and many others.
While there are a good handful of apps and sites available today that offer similar solutions to JustWatch, such as Fan TV, Yidio, Instantwatcher, CanIStreamIt, and more, JustWatch has been differentiating itself by focusing on both the U.S. and international audiences. Following its launch this February, which was U.S. only to start, the company broadened its search engine to support Germany, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. And in the near future, JustWatch is expanding to Canada and the U.K., the company tells us.
Online, the service works as a search engine where you can enter in a title and find out where you can stream it or buy it, and which service currently has the best price. The site also features regular updates that alert you to new content arriving on your favorite service. This is especially helpful for those who primarily use just one or two streaming services, and get to the point where they feel like they’ve already watched everything good that fits their interests, for example.
The new mobile app out now offers a similar feature set, and will also highlight shows and movies that are trending with users across services. At launch, JustWatch is tracking Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, HBO NOW, Showtime, Hulu, Crackle, iTunes, Vudu, Xbox, PlayStation, Epix, and select niche offerings like realeyz, Mubi and Fandor.[gallery ids="1185579,1185578,1185577,1185576"]
As noted above, there are a number of apps that help you track the streaming and download landscape, but I’ve found JustWatch’s simplified interface and its selection of search filters to be quite useful.
For example, you can identify where individual seasons of a show can be found – which is handy because current shows often have only some seasons or episodes available on streaming services, while more recent seasons might only be available as paid downloads.
You can also filter shows and movies by whether they’re available for streaming or purchase, the best price, HD or SD format, and you can drill down on individual TV show episodes to see the same info for just a single title. From the “filters” option by the app’s main search box, you can also filter by movie or TV, genre, release year, and quality (HD or SD).
In addition, JustWatch lets you add favorites to a universal Watchlist, and from here you can click on the provider to start streaming immediately. This works both online and on mobile.
The new app’s price drop feature, meanwhile, lets you keep track of sales. In a timeline-like interface, the app will display movies and shows that are available for rent or purchase, the old and new price, and the percentage discount. From here, you can tap on any title to be directed to the service and buy the video.
Unfortunately, I did find some glitches with regard to JustWatch’s content database. For example, the AMC show “Humans,” which is trending right now, is actually available for purchase on both iTunes and Amazon Instant Video (not Prime Instant Video). However, JustWatch failed to pick this up, only pointing to Vudu and PlayStation as places you could watch. The lack of the Amazon link may have to do with issues related to the Amazon feed.
JustWatch CEO David Croyé explains that they’ve split Amazon Prime Instant Video and Amazon Instant Video into two providers for filtering purposes, but the feed’s data quality is one of the worst worldwide, and they often have trouble with it. However, it’s unclear why JustWatch is missing the iTunes link – Croyé basically chalks this up to a bug.
Also, because JustWatch hasn’t expanded to include some of the more niche streaming services, you might be missing other deals and relevant information. As another example, CBS’s popular show “Big Bang Theory” is sold on Amazon Instant Video and is available through CBS’s service for cord cutters, CBS All Access. But JustWatch will only point to iTunes, Vudu and PlayStation.
In other words, the app is a good first step in finding content, but it’s not necessarily a perfect solution at this point in time. But then again, based on tests with JustWatch’s competitors, none of them are just yet.
Instead of charging for its service, Croyé says that the company’s business model will focus on ad campaigns from movie studios who will target JustWatch users.
“The first campaigns are already booked and running and are showing a huge uplift in trailer view performance on YouTube and Facebook, because our targeting is already really efficient and cuts off a lot of the normal waste coverage that comes with interest and demographic targeting,” says Croyé.