Monday, April 01, 2013 ready for take-off

As you might know, we have been working on for a while now.

Our goal is to let you TALK to your friends while watching TV, making sure you will never watch TV alone, while enhancing the overall experience.

I am convinced that the Second Screen market is the next big thing (Mashable put it as the #1 trend for 2013, so I am not alone).

I have never seen a market that is nascent, where the desire by end users is incredible (80% of people use a mobile device while watching TV today), and the business model is obvious.

The convergence of TV brand advertising with Internet transactional advertising is the Holy Grail of advertising. 85% of ad spending is still on TV ($200B/year...). Companies spend a million dollars for a SuperBowl ad, having no clue who watches it and what kind of people like it. Moreover, they have no way to give you an action to follow-up on the ad (i.e. "click"). If Google built a zillion dollars company with the remaining 15% of the ad market, I am sure there is a big company to be built here, one that allows you to "click" on a TV ad because an icon pops up on your iPad, while you watch a commercial.

We think is going to be that company. Simply because we nailed the user experience. We tested voice as the medium to share emotions while watching TV, and we discovered it changes everything.

Last October, we ran a test during the baseball postseason. TOK Baseball allowed users to watch a game on TV, with the scoreboard in their hands, talking to their friends. Because watching TV is a passive experience, voice is just perfect. People used our app for 57 minutes during each game (on average). Talking to their friends, while leaving the iPad on the side of the couch and kicking back. It makes sense, but we proved it.

If you force your users to type, they will pick up their device, type for two minutes, then stop and go back to watch the game. Not when you can talk. Actually, you will pick up your iPad during commercials (Ka-Ching! ;-) and you will be able to browse an ad while talking (see, voice is passive... You can even talk to your friends about the ad itself...)

In January, we ran a second test, during the football postseason. We saw 50% of baseball users move to TOK Football and we added a Facebook integration, which made the friendship numbers balloon (from one to eight on average). Yes, the additional content is important, but the key is the social interaction.

Then in February, we ran our last test, during Oscar night. Despite no advertising whatsoever, we had four times the users we had during the SuperBowl. And 68% of them were ladies. It proved to us that the model works beyond sports (and that it is true that ladies like to talk ;-) It was also the first test of the platform, the way we will scale, allowing others to provide the content.

Finally, we are done with tests. We are now ready for take-off.

Today, we launched TOK Baseball 2.0. It is not a beta anymore, it is the real deal. We added content so that the app is useful before and after the game, not just during the game. And a lot of cool stats.

You can check it out on the App Store.

What else? We announced that we have completed our Angel round. $400K from a phenomenal group of individuals, covering the mobile, TV and advertising space. I am honored to have them on board and I look forward to make them very happy (since they are already rich ;-)

We have a pipeline full of incredibly cool features (and an iPhone version), plus a series of spectacular apps (yes, we'll do soccer and basketball, I promise).

Stay tuned, the sky is the limit.