We are excited to bring Transform 2022 back on July 19th and literally July 20th – 28th. Join AI and Data leaders for insightful conversations and exciting networking opportunities. Register Today!
Streaming services have become an isolated mess, making it difficult to figure out whether the movie or TV show you want to watch is on Netflix, HBO Max, or just one of a bunch of different services. That’s why social viewing service Scener is launching its mobile app on iOS today.
The app is like a universal remote for your streaming services. You can use it to do a universal search. That is, when you’re looking for Star Trek movies, it will tell you they’re on Paramount+ and, if you’re a subscriber, it will take you to the movie you want to see, says David Barron, ex. Hulu said CEO Joe became CEO of Scene in December. All this in the name of simplifying the complex world of streaming, he said in an interview with VentureBeat.
Baron showed me in a demo how it works. If you don’t subscribe, Universal Search takes you to the membership page. But if you do this, watching the movie will become easier. This lets you play the content on your iPhone right away, or direct it to one of your screens that’s connected to a Roku TV (now available on a lot of connected TVs). While it only works with Roku as a remote right now, it will work with other platforms in the future.
David Barron is the CEO of Sinner.
You can activate the Roku service on the Connected screen and start watching shows there. You can still use your smartphone as a remote control on that connected screen. You can fast-forward, rewind, pause, turn the volume, or end the show and pop out a menu. Baron showed me this with a Samsung TV with a Roku stream bar plugged in. And he showed it off with a Mac laptop plugged into a larger monitor. When you select a show, you can see which episode you want to watch and skip ahead.
“We have deep linking and syncing video from your mobile phone to social media events with no need for a separate remote control,” Baron said.
You can host a watch party with friends on Scener.
Baron said you can also use it for social viewing, which is a feature of Scene, through the app on the Google Chrome browser. Seener lets you watch movies with a friend while you’re apart, so you can join watch parties with remote friends through services like HBO Max, HBO Go, and Netflix. The demand for watch parties skyrocketed in the pandemic.
“We’re trying to make consumers’ lives easier when it comes to their streaming media space,” Barron said. “It’s a big step in that direction. There’s more to follow. But it’s a very good next step.”
Senor was founded by Joe Bradwood. It was launched in 2018 and is incubated by media streaming pioneer RealNetworks. The company came out in 2019 and has been adding features to it ever since. Last year it enabled huge viewing parties for film festivals such as the debut of Zack Snyder’s new cut Justice League,
With the mobile app, social viewing becomes easy. For example, Baron showed how Sean would let two different parties watch the same show through the app. This synchronizes the start of the show so that both parties can watch the same part of the film simultaneously. If you fast forward or rewind, it is the same for both sides. When this happens you can chat with each other. This is what Baron calls the “basic social” experience.
You don’t need to cast movie from your iPhone to TV via cable. Visual is hardware agnostic, and has more TV device support coming soon. That means you won’t need to mess with multiple remote controls to play a movie, Baron said. You can engage in video, text or audio chats on your iPhone, while the app syncs the shared experience across two TVs in two different places.
Seener’s mobile app turns your iPhone into a remote control.
“Imagine this laptop and this phone are in two different houses. All this is happening in sync. I can fast forward too. And you can see that it is now asking to sync. If you look, it’s actually finding the sync point. and syncing. No one has done this before,” Barron said. “So we’re really, really excited about it.”
Push notifications alerting you to join the watch party and host.
SaveLive founder Mark Geiger, former global head of WME and Scener investor, said, “Scener has turned mobile devices into media controllers that no one else has been able to make – knowing what my friends are watching on TV, all I ever wanted.” and consultants, in a statement. “In music, it has been an important tool for new music discovery. For TV, it’s a natural next step for mass senor and streaming innovation.”
Seiner’s mobile app debut builds on the company’s explosive period of growth. Seener has seen significant user growth, averaging over five million minutes of shared viewing over the past quarter and hosting more than 700,000 social viewing events each month. From that data, Baron said Seener can show what’s playing across all the different streaming services, showing you what to watch.
Zack Snyder, creator of Zack Snyder, HBO Max’s DMZ and Oscar TikTok star Julian Green (aka Straw Hat Goofy) and adoption from major media entities including HBO Max, [email protected] and SXSW, fuels the demand for simplified, social streaming. Underlines, Barron said.
Now, fans can choose how they join the party: with a cinematic-level viewing experience via TV and mobile, or with the convenience of a simple browser extension on laptop or desktop.
Views lets you share movies with your friends.
“After spending three decades building new lines of business from within the largest media companies, I experience firsthand how social viewing has transformed the streaming landscape for audiences, platforms, and studios alike—social content. The discovery will be the next seismic change,” Barron said.
The app can also show which big watch parties and social events are coming up. Baron said Senor did this engineering for the app on his own, without asking permission from the services. But the app will help broker new interactions with different companies, said Barron, a 30-year veteran who took 14 years as a Hulu exec.
“There are things we can do with the streaming companies and I look forward to working with them,” Barron said. “I think we can be their best friends. I think we can help them build community around content. I think we can help them build engagement around content, all of them Things streamers need, and I think we can help with content discovery as well.”
Baron hopes this will help bring the silos closer together and benefit the consumer. An Android app is likely to work.
Senor has offices in Seattle and Los Angeles.
VentureBeat’s Mission To be a digital town square for technical decision makers to gain knowledge about transformational enterprise technology and transactions. Learn more about membership.