Video discovery startup Fanhattan rolled out a new iPhone app (s AAPL) Wednesday that will allow users to search and navigate TV shows and movies that are available on the device. The release of the iPhone app follows Fanhattan’s launch of an app for the iPad, which was introduced earlier this year.
The iPhone app will give the company a much wider reach, as there have been more than 200 million iPhones sold since the device was introduced just a few years ago. But while the iPad has quickly become a device for personal viewing of long-form videos, people still use their mobile handsets mostly for video snacking or short-form clips, which aren’t Fanhattan’s specialty — it focuses mostly on long-form, premium TV and film content.
Still, Fanhattan’s iPhone app carries over much of the same functionality of the iPad app. It allows users to browse or search through popular TV and movie content available on the device, with links to available streaming options from services like Netflix (s NFLX) and Hulu Plus. It provides detailed cast and crew information, has reviews and ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, and allows viewers to watch trailers and related YouTube (s GOOG) videos while browsing content. It also provides some social recommendations by tapping into users’ Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Both apps, however, are a small part of its larger ambition — which is to be the video discovery engine for connected TVs and other devices. That could help solve a serious issue of discoverability, especially as the number of content owners creating video apps on those devices continues to increase. Fanhattan has even raised the possibility of launching its own branded streaming box, which would use its technology for top-level search and navigation of all the content available through multiple creators.
For now, it only surfaces content on the iPhone from Netflix, Hulu Plus and iTunes, but it’s looking to expand that list with new content partners over the coming months. As apps become the new channels on mobile and other devices, content owners could turn to discovery mechanisms like Fanhattan to make their videos more easily accessible.