GetGlue successor TVtag is shutting down

Social TV service TVtag, which was previously known as GetGlue, is shutting down at the end of the year. TVtag announced the shutdown in an email to users Friday afternoon, which stated that users had just a few days left to manually request the export of their data by emailing the TVtag team.

The email reads, in part:

“Later this month, we will be shutting down tvtag and its supporting apps in order to refocus our efforts on other initiatives. (…) We’re grateful for all your support over the last four years. You’ve helped us build an incredible community of fellow TV fans. We’ll miss it dearly.”

TVtag’s website and Twitter account have yet to be updated to acknowledge the shutdown.

TVTag launched earlier this year as a successor to GetGlue, a pioneering social TV service that let users check in to TV shows and earn stickers for doing so. GetGlue experimented with a few different social TV models throughout the years, which included a pure Foursquare-like check-in experience for all kinds of media as well as a new type of TV guide, but it never gained traction beyond a core audience of check-in enthusiasts.

The company went through a bit of a tumultuous time when it first announced, then canceled an acquisition by publicly traded Viggle, and eventually got sold to Utah-based i.TV in late 2013.

Much of the original GetGlue team, including founder Alex Iskold, had long left the company, but it’s unclear whether the shutdown is resulting in further layoffs. I asked the company for comment, but have yet to hear back. i.TV CEO Brad Pelo told me earlier this year that TVtag employed more than 50 curators to distill key moments from live TV feeds, and make them instantly shareable through TVtag’s app.

That approach however didn’t go over well with GetGlue’s original users, many of which didn’t seem too surprised by the decision to shut down Friday. As one user put it on Twitter:

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:


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]

Social TV pioneer Miso is shutting down next month

Pioneering social TV service Miso will shut down on October 23, according to an email sent to Miso users. The shut-down comes roughly 18 months after Miso’s assets had been acquired by Dijit, the company behind, which itself was subsequently acquired by Viggle. Miso’s users were encouraged in the good-bye email sent out this weekend to join Viggle’s service, which offers rewards for TV check-ins. However, not everyone was happy about this offer — some of Miso’s users from countries other than the U.S. have been complaining on Twitter that the Viggle app isn’t available in their market. This story was corrected at 5:25pm. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Miso would shut down this week.

Let’s face it: social TV is dead

As the second-screen space is consolidating, it’s time to face reality and admit that social TV is dead, and much of it was a bad idea to begin with.