The label, “TV Guide for the internet,” doesn’t fully capture the intent or the extent of Clicker. We first wrote about the site when it appeared at the TechCrunch50 event. It was then in a closed beta. However today, a mere 58 days later, the site launches to the public with a number of new features and additional content.
Former Ask CEO Jim Lanzone, now the CEO of Clicker, has described the site as “the first structured, comprehensive and unbiased programming guide for internet television.” And in today’s press release the site calls itself “Complete Programming Guide for Internet Television.”
Clicker may look like a more organized version of YouTube or a broader version of Hulu or a video search engine; and while there have been TV programming guides online, the gestalt of Clicker is something new. It both expresses where video programming is today and anticipates the “converged future.”
Increasingly people are watching movies and TV programs online. According to comScore, “more than 168 million U.S. Internet users watched online video during [September] . . . with nearly 26 billion videos viewed during the month . . .”
Clicker doesn’t compete with any of the video sites or destinations listed above; it aims to sit on top of all this content and serve as a comprehensive guide to them. Clicker also features movies, music video and made-for-Web video. Some of this content can be viewed on Clicker (if the video player is embeddable) but mostly Clicker refers people to the original sources.
Though it may not be entirely obvious, Clicker has a bright social future with a long road map of community features that will be built out over time. Imagine playlists and favorites “curated” by aficionados and experts in genres or sub-genres. And Clicker’s structured data approach provides lots and lots of information about programs and ways into content and related content:
The new features making their appearance with the public launch include:
- More content: 400,000 full episodes from over 1,200 sources in more than 1,200 categories [and] over 30,000 movies from Netflix Instant Streaming and Amazon VOD. (Clicker also catalogs more than 50,000 music videos from over 20,000 artists.)
- Improved DVR-like Playlist functionality, including new episode alerts and full “season passes”
- Facebook Connect integration, so anyone can create a Clicker account with Facebook and/or tie their Clicker account to their Facebook profile
- User-Generated Content: fans can contribute their own thoughts, observations, and facts about any show or episode
- Search Within: The ability to restrict a search to topics within a specific program. For example, searching “Warren Buffett” within the show Charlie Rose specifically brings up those episodes where Buffett is interviewed
- Related Search: Machine-learning based suggestions on related programs. For example, 30 Rock, The Office and Larry Sanders Show are offered as related suggestions for the show Seinfeld
As mentioned above, Clicker also anticipates the coming era of the internet in the living room (on TV). As mentioned in our original post, Clicker CEO Lanzone told me that almost immediately after the demo he did at the TechCrunch50 event he was getting inquiries from the mainstream broadcasters and cable companies. Below is a “TV interface” that Clicker mocked up that could replace the kludgy cable programming guides of today.
There’s no doubt competitors will come out of the woodwork and existing companies will reposition themselves to match Clicker’s positioning and claims. However Clicker is in a very solid if not unique position to realize its ambition to be a comprehensive programming guide for video and entertainment content whether online — or on TV.