Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Flingo Gets $7 Million for a Second-Screen Bet

More money pouring into the “second screen.” This time it’s $7 million for Flingo, via August Capital.

Flingo is best known as “the video start-up run by the guy who used to run BitTorrent.” And so far, CEO Ashwin Navin has been concentrating on building “smart TV” apps that you’ll find on sets from Samsung, LG, etc.

Now the plan is to put the new money into software that will automatically figure out what viewers are watching. That way, it can bring them more information about what’s on the screen, and/or help them tell their pals about it.

And that, theoretically, could help Navin grab a piece of the very big TV advertising pie.

But that plan puts Navin in the same place as several other “TV check-in” services, like GetGlue and Yahoo’s IntoNow. And all of them face the same really big challenge: How do you get people to use this stuff?

It’s not that people aren’t interested in telling their friends what they’re watching. It’s just that they’re already doing that, on Twitter and Facebook.

That doesn’t mean a specialized social service that works with the existing ones can’t take off — that’s one of the big takeaways from Foursquare and Instagram.

But it does mean these check-in apps have to provide something pretty great. Or the second-screen real estate is going to get claimed by folks like Mark Zuckerberg and Dick Costolo.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus