DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) struck a deal with social TV firm GetGlue which will allow its satellite TV subscribers to channel surf based on programs their friends are watching.
GetGlue's iPhone interface
Under the agreement announced Thursday, DirecTV subscribers will be able to access a GetGlue app with their remote control, and let their friends know what they are watching by checking into a program. DirecTV subscribers who sign up for GetGlue will also be able to view a stream on their TVs that details what shows their friends are watching, and quickly navigate to a show by selecting one of the programs listed by their friends.
DirecTV struck a similar agreement with GetGlue rival Miso earlier this month. The moves show that the top satellite TV provider is looking to differentiate itself from its cable competitors by taking an early lead in the emerging social TV space.
While Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) has said that it would integrate Facebook recommendations into the next version of its interactive program guide, DirecTV is the first pay TV provider to allow TV subscribers to use recommendations from social networks to help customers channel surf.
GetGlue, Miso and social TV firm IntoNow, which was acquired by Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) earlier this year, also have apps for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone and other mobile devices that allow subscribers to check into various programs they are watching, and chat with friends about the content.
The idea of allowing viewers to chat with each other while watching TV programming isn't new. That was one of the key features AOL (NYSE: AOL) touted with its failed AOL TV set-top, which debuted in 2000, and was scrapped just two years later. Social TV may have a better shot at succeeding now, thanks to the popuarlity of smartphones and tablet computers that integrate the apps, along with automatic content technology used by companies like IntoNow which allow viewers to use mobile devices to quickly check into a program.
While most viewers may not be familiar with social TV apps such as GetGlue, Miso and IntoNow, the technology could eventually help programmers boost ratings and ad revenue by keeping viewers more engaged with TV shows.
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