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Summary:

Shazam’s mobile app is now able to recognize almost any TV show on more than 160 U.S. TV channels – but it isn’t looking to take those smarts into the set-top box space any time soon. One reason: Interactive TV just doesn’t have the same scale.

Shazam for TV Tag Result_Glee

Content recognition specialist Shazam continues to bet on the second screen, and the company’s chief revenue officer Doug Garland told me last week that he doesn’t expect connected TVs or set-top boxes to catch up with the mobile space any time soon.

“If you look at interactive TV… it has been the roadkill of the information superhighway,” he said, adding: “Advanced set-top boxes never achieved scale.”

The same can’t be said for mobile, and that’s why companies like Shazam are putting their apps on iPads and phones, as opposed to TVs and set-top boxes. “We are operating at scale,” said Garland, pointing to some impressive numbers: Shazam now sees 10 million new tags a day, or a total of one three billion tags a year. Two million new users sign up for Shazam every single week.

Up until now, Shazam has mostly been known as a music recognition app: Users can have the app listen in on a song they hear anywhere, and they’ll almost immediately get the name of the artist, the song title, and additional information. Shazam recently began to expand into the TV space, and is now able to identify almost any show on over 160 U.S. TV channels.

This obviously opens up a whole new range of ad revenue possibilities, and Garland said that Shazam has already partnered with over 160 brands to do things like deliver additional information about a product that’s advertised on TV to the second screen.

And, as Shazam is doubling down on TV show recognition, these ad experiences will play an even bigger role. However, you won’t see a Coke ad on your mobile while a Pepsi ad is playing on TV any time soon – at least not within your Shazam app. “Right now, that’s certainly not how we are working,” said Garland.

For more about the importance of second-screen apps, check out my conversation with YouTube Director of Product Management Shiva Rajaraman at this week’s Mobilize conference.

  1. Second screen is the correct bet.

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