Fanhattan Launches iPad App to Aggregate Movies, TV Shows From Netflix, Hulu Plus, iTunes


“The current landscape for digital entertainment is overflowing with content, but it can be a confusing landscape for consumers to navigate,” says CEO Gilles BianRosa.

NEW YORK - Amid ever-increasing online video services and evolving release windows, entertainment discovery service Fanhattan wants to help consumers find which film and TV content is available, where and in what form - from rental to purchase and subscription, for download, in streaming form, in theatres or on DVD.

To that end, Fanhattan, on Wednesday launched a free iPad app that brings together movie and TV show content from top digital media services, namely Netflix, Hulu Plus and Apple's iTunes, as well as the ABC Player. The latter comes into play when a Fanhattan user, for example, chooses to play ABC hit show Modern Family through it.
The company plans to add more digital services to its lineup of partners throughout the year and also expects to launch an Android app down the line. Among possible partners mentioned by executives is HBO Go.

Fanhattan, backed by venture capital firms NEA, Redpoint Ventures, GreyCroft Partners and BV Capital, as well as LA angel investor Jarl Mohn and independent investors, sees itself as the digital age's interactive program guide.

While consumers these days often have to look at various digital media stores and Web sites for available content, Fanhattan wants to help people find what they are looking for.

The app lets users browse content or search by titles, genres, talent, new releases and the like. Once a consumer chooses a title, the service shows which online or offline options a user has to watch - from a movie theatre to TV or a DVD purchase all the way to renting a series or using an existing digital media subscription, or even starting one. After all, if content is available via a service that the consumer doesn't currently subscribe to, he or she can sign up with Fanhattan's help.

Users can also easily access content featuring the same actors, reviews, ratings, trailers, related YouTube videos and basic info on talent, as well as buy fan gear from Amazon, movie tickets from Fandango or access soundtracks via iTunes.

Through a simple user interface, it also hopes to encourage exploration and discovery.

The company, which first outlined its technology and vision late last year, but didn't have any partners yet, will showcase its app later in the day at the D: All Things Digital conference.

“The current landscape for digital entertainment is overflowing with content, but it can be a confusing landscape for consumers to navigate,” said Fanhattan CEO Gilles BianRosa. “Fanhattan brings the world of TV and movies into one rich platform that gives consumers a direct line into watching what they want without having to hunt and poke through a variety of services, prices and licensing rules.”

BianRosa said the app will add more transparency to the  windows and licensing arrangements of entertainment firms, which often confuse consumers. As a result, Hollywood and its partners will benefit from more discovery and easier access, he argued.

While it currently partners directly with digital distributors, which have licensing deals with entertainment firms, Fanhattan has also started reaching out to studios and pay TV operators.

"We are exploring ways to work with the studios directly, especially around marketing opportunities," such as related merchandise and other marketing assets, said BianRosa. Here, Fanhattan is pitching itself as a partner that can offer provides evergreen pages for movies and shows, allowing for further monetization.

And for pay TV companies, Fanhattan could serve as an interface to discover and access content.

Since its app is free, Fanhattan is looking to get revenue from paid-for premium service offers down the line and referral fees from partners - for example, for enabling a consumer to do a rental or other transaction or become a subscriber.

The company also plans to bring its service to connected TVs and various streaming devices in the future.

Twitter: @georgszalai

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