Summary:

SocialGuide enables users to set up individual accounts, look for their friends and share what they’re watching on Twitter and Facebook. But the more interesting business is in aggregating real-time conversations about shows as they air, and providing a guide to the most talked-about shows.

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More than half of consumers watch TV with a laptop, tablet or mobile device in their hands, and a growing number are posting to Twitter or Facebook while doing so. But which shows are they talking about? That’s the point of SocialGuide, which aims to provide a real-time view into which shows are stirring up the most conversation.

Like other social TV startups, SocialGuide enables users to set up individual accounts, look for their friends and share what they’re watching on Twitter and Facebook. Once signed in, they can designate their location and TV provider, and get listings for the most talked about shows that are on, thanks to a partnership it struck with Tribune Media Services. Its SocialGuide also lets users see what their friends are watching as a way to help foster conversation between them.

But the consumer-facing aspect of the business — getting people to sign in and share what they’re watching — is probably the least interesting part of what it’s doing. Even if viewers don’t log in to the service or explicitly “check in” to any TV shows, SocialGuide can still provide valuable data to both TV viewers and the content owners themselves. The site works by scouring Twitter in real time for conversations about shows as they are airing, creating a listing of the most social shows on TV. It then aggregates of those social conversations into one spot. The result is a real-time social channel listing.

While SocialGuide can provide a high-level overview of all shows that are on, it also breaks down rankings into subcategories, such as series, reality, movies, sports and news. And each of the shows gets its own show page, which brings together all the Twitter or Facebook conversations as they happen. Customized show pages are one way SocialGuide hopes to make money. By providing skinnable landing pages for individual shows, it can allow content owners to take control of their online presence on the guide. SocialGuide also is able to provide real-time data: not just about how users are interacting with its own site, but what they’re talking about elsewhere as well.

SocialGuide isn’t alone in aggregating real-time conversations about shows: Yap.TV, BeeTV and even VH1’s Co-Star app  all bring in conversations that happen around live TV on social networks. Nor is it the only aggregator collecting data around which shows are most popular at any given time, as Wiredset’s Trendrr.tv provides similar data.

SocialGuide is still officially in beta, but expects to publicly launch soon. It also expects to introduce new applications for the iPhone, iPad and Android-based mobile devices over the coming weeks. The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based startup has a full-time staff of four, and has raised $1.5 million from angel investors that include Alex Zubillaga, the former head of digital strategy at Warner Music.

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