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Rovi Takes Fanhattan

by Michael Goodman | Nov 10, 2014

In an effort to continue to improve its search and discovery portfolio and develop a next-generation TV guide, Rovi acquired 4 year old start-up Fanhattan for an undisclosed sum. In 2010, Fanhattan acquired The Movie Database (TMDb), a crowd sourced movie database that contains metadata on more than 1.8 million movies, TV shows and people, and which over 2,000 editors curate over 250,000 pieces of content monthly. 

TMDb powers Fan TV, a content discovery app (launched in 2011), enabling 2.3 million users in the U.S. to search for movies and TV shows across linear, on-demand and over-the-top services.

More recently, Fanhattan has developed a Fan TV set-top-box (STB) “that combines linear TV channels, video-on-demand and streaming services in a unified discovery experience.” The Fan TV STB is designed to be bundled with a pay TV service. Cox launched a limited trial, since discontinued, of the Fan TV STB in July 2013. Time Warner Cable Inc. followed up with a more substantial commitment, making Fan TV available to its entire subscriber footprint for a one-time fee of $149 in August 2014.

Fanhattan provides Rovi with several benefits.

  • TMDb provides Rovi with a deep pool of metadata at little to no cost, augmenting Rovi’s existing metadata footprint.
  • The Fan TV app provides Rovi with a powerful tool for research and to test new features.
  • Fanhattan pairs well with another recent Rovi acquisition – Veveo. Veveo's natural language user interfaces should benefit from TMDb’s and Rovi's existing metadata. In addition, Fanhattan's gesture-based UI should be a nice complement to Veveo’s voice-enabled UI.
  • Recently, Rovi’s focus on Personalized Discovery Solutions has put it in competition with companies like ContentWise, ThinkAnalytics, and Jinni Media. Rovi has also recently introduced a cloud-based guidance solution that targets multi-screen use, including legacy set-top boxes and IP devices. Fan TV supports this initiative well, though it is not likely that we will see much until mid-to-late 2015.
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