TIOTI takes wraps off social TV aggregator

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TIOTI.com (Tape It Off The Internet) has been almost a year in closed, invite-only beta so hopefully today it’s ready for its close-up. It should do. It’s had 18,000 users users to test the site with, who will now be joined by anyone who registers.

Providing links to a wide range of online TV services such as Apple, Amazon, AOL and Joost, amongst others, TIOTI is now indexing over 75,000 TV shows and more than 500,000 episodes. But let’s be clear – you can’t download the shows from Tioti – it just points to the relevant sources. Thus it is attempting to avoid the legal problems which have dogged other ‘download’ sites.

TIOTI Inc, which is legally based in Seattle, WA, USA, and London, UK, says it is in “advanced talks” with investors for funding. However, I understand that a potential deal with a large UK media company never came to anything, and the search for funding has taken longer than expected.

TIOTI wraps all these feeds in social tools, allowing users to recommend shows to friends, to discuss and see what their friends are watching. Think Facebook meets TV on-demand. Users can add, edit and expand the information on cast, crew, critics, fan fiction, gossip and trivia around TV shows with links, photos and videos integrated from Flickr.com and YouTube.

TIOTI also uses your favourite TV shows as a starting point to make recommendations for new (and old) shows. Each show and episode can also be recommended to people, rated, discussed with others, and you can see what shows other people like too.

The ‘Friends and Episode’ tracker lets users see where they are up to in the episodes of a show, and where their friends are up to. Useful if your friends are in the US, while you are in the UK, for instance.

TIOTI is hoping to exploit the global trend to watch TV online. The latest figures on TV-viewing habits by the Royal Television Society in the UK show that under-30 year olds watch 40 per cent of their television by downloading it over the internet or viewing it ‘on demand’ rather than watching it as broadcast TV.

The team: Paul Cleghorn, based in London, is TIOTI’s creative director, and previously ran the design agency Neuromantics. Before this he held senior design positions at Poke, Razorfish, BT Research Labs and Xerox. He also worked at Aggregator.tv, which went into administration in May. His co-founder Marc Colando, is based in Seattle, and is TIOTI’s technical director. He ran Interactive Planet, Inc. which developed of internet and intranet environments for clients including Bank of America, The Coca-Cola Company, Earthlink, Equifax, Kodak, The US Marine Corps and Vodafone.

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