MemeTV wants to bring meme-worthy TV clips to Tumblr and Reddit

Imagine you watch something funny on TV. You grab your remote control, press a button, and seconds later, that scene arrives in an app on your phone. You edit it down to the key ten seconds, add a clever caption, turn it into an animated gif — and voila: instant meme, ready to be shared on Tumblr, Reddit or Twitter.

Social TV startup MemeTV took a first step toward making every Redditor’s dream TV feature happen by releasing its MemeTV iPhone app that allows users to generate short clips from anything they’re watching on broadcast TV.

The app is capable of identifying any program that’s running on some 420 TV networks across the U.S. Once the app knows what a user is watching, it queues up the last two minutes of what just aired, ready to be edited down to a shareable ten-second clip. Alternatively, users can simply select what they watched from a programming grid and have the app fetch what’s currently being aired, or browse through clips that other users have previously generated from a show.

Users can then add a caption to a clip, and share it through the app, or post it on Tumblr, Reddit, [company]Twitter[/company], [company]Facebook[/company] or elsewhere. Clips can also be turned into animated gifs, or downloaded to a phone’s camera roll — basically anything you’d need to reuse it all over the internet — and that’s exactly what MemeTV wants users to do. “We are making it simple to create video memes,” said MemeTV founder Ian Aaron during an interview Wednesday.

Here’s a demo video of the app:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm1WjzbI2bo]

This isn’t Aaron’s first stab at social TV. MemeTV is the latest incarnation of a company that was previously known as ConnecTV, which first tried to build a companion app for broadcast TV, and then introduced a social clip-sharing app that’s pretty close to what MemeTV does. But while the previous ConnecTV app tried to become a kind of Vine for TV content, MemeTV instead squarely aims at viral content creation.

Aaron told me that MemeTV has partnerships with eight big media companies, including Hearst, Gannett, Scripps and Raycom. He also said that the company has deals with major pay TV providers, but wasn’t ready to share any names. The same goes for partnerships with consumer electronics companies, which could eventually result in MemeTV integration into TV sets to actually make that meme button on your remote control a reality. But before that, MemeTV wants to launch an Android app as well as a website to reach users across all major platforms.

As for the business side, MemeTV is planning to offer contextual advertising, as well as help broadcast networks and online services with tune-ins. Clips shared through the app come with links to full episodes of the show online, and Aaron hopes that this could turn viral memes into something that actually drives traffic for TV services.

I had a chance to play with the app a little bit Wednesday, and found that generating shareable video memes is very easy, if maybe a bit rough around the edges, especially when it comes to setting the beginning and the end of a clip. However, while I was trying to come up with some clever caption for a short clip from a cable news network, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the beauty of memes is that they’re based on simple and easily recognizable images, as opposed to full TV clips with sound. Then again, someone will surely find a way to use this for some great animated gifs, and we will all be sharing them over and over again.[company]

Ben Huh says journalistic objectivity is a trap

I Can Has Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh’s day job may involve funny pictures of cats and other internet memes, but he also has some serious opinions about the future of journalism, including the idea that journalistic objectivity as we know it has outlived its usefulness.

Nyan Cat progress bar for OS X makes loading fun

Checking for updates for your Mac is about as fun as watching paint dry, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With a free, simple plugin you can bring all the joy of Nyan Cat to various Mac OS X-based loading activities.

5 Questions With…Know Your Meme’s Kenyatta Cheese

Kenyatta Cheese is the producer of Rocketboom spin-off Know Your Meme, a web series and meme database which has been documenting the oddities of Internet culture since December 2007. Here, he talks about web video’s inferiority complex, championing entrepreneurs and “brand promise.”

Where to Watch ROFLCon Live

We love our memes here at camp NewTeeVee. Rick Astley, angry Hitler, cute kittens, drugged-out kids: The web video world wouldn’t be half as exciting without all those viral goodies, which is why we’re very much looking forward to this Friday and Saturday, when the 2nd ROFLCon in Cambridge will explore “what makes memes work, why they work, and where (it is) all going.”

Unfortunately, though, none of us will be able to attend in person, and there’s a high likelihood you won’t either, as tickets are all sold out. But no worries, there are going to be multiple live streams covering the entire event, including keynote speeches by danah boyd and Ethan Zuckerman (who apparently has been busy finding kitten pictures for his presentation).

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7 Timeless Web Memes

[qi:060] Sure there are the flashy memes tied to poorly translated video games, 80s pop singers (I warned you) and bad dancing, but there are also serious topics of conversations that pop up online over and over — and over — again. Maybe they’re not Internet memes in the Wikipedia sense, but they are cultural ideas that live and exist because of the web. Below we offer a crash course on seven of them, complete with summaries and links. Read More about 7 Timeless Web Memes

MemeWatch: Feist’s 1 2 3 4

Feist’s 1 2 3 4 has been stuck in the Internet’s head for over a year now, but it wasn’t until just recently that it stood a chance of becoming the next big mash-up meme. How? It’s all because of Sesame Street, and a cover version sung by Amanda Palmer, lead singer of the Dresden Dolls:

The original lyrics for 1 2 3 4‘s chorus (“Oh, you’re changing your heart/Oh, you know who you are”) are a perfect part of a deceptively bouncy song about lost love — but don’t make it very open to reinterpreting (with the exception of this MadTV parody). When rewritten for a preschool audience, however, as “Oh, we’re counting to four/Oh, let’s count some more,” the song becomes a basic template for…well, pretty much anything you want to sing about.

Provided, of course, it comes in quantities of four and rhymes with “door,” which isn’t exactly easy. Palmer’s version includes “MacBooks lying on the floor” and “Milkshakes from the store next door” (I won’t ruin the best of her rewrites); meanwhile, I struggled to come up with anything that worked with the rhythm of the song (eventually choking out the pretty weak “1 2 3 4 Star Trek episodes with Lore” — which is why I’m not a professional singer/songwriter, for the record).

1 2 3 4 is undoubtedly overplayed at this point, but the fact is that over a year after the first iPod commercial, the Sesame Street appearance was able to give the song new life. So the question is this: Will cleverer minds than mine latch onto the catchy tune’s new potential for being rewritten — or is Feist soooo 4th-gen iPod?

The Mario Theme Meme’s Enduring Appeal

Mario is like the R.E.M. of Internet memes. While most memes Rickroll out of nowhere, take over our collective consciousness, only to evaporate almost as quickly, performing cover versions of the Super Mario theme song seems to endure. Like R.E.M., Mario has achieved and maintained a certain level of fame without crossing over into the realm of overdone fad.


Mario Theme Played with RC Car and Bottles – Watch more free videos

What re-ignited my interest in the mighty little plumber’s music was a recent post on BoingBoing that showed the theme song being played by an RC car thwacking a series of bottles filled with liquid. The result is pretty amazing, and the fact that it got 951,401 plays in just two days shows how popular Mario remains.

But the practice of playing the theme and sharing it online goes way back (well, way back in Internet time).

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