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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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik