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Summary:

Apple has bought Matcha.tv, a social TV startup that shut down three months ago. Here’s what this says about the social TV space as well as Apple’s ambitions.

Matcha

In what looks like a typical acqui-hire, Apple recently scooped up the team and assets of Matcha.tv, a social TV startup that shut down in May. The deal, which was first reported by VentureBeat, is more proof of consolidation in the social TV space, but it also goes to show that Apple is serious about TV.

Matcha.tv created an iPad app to discover movies and TV show episodes on Netflix, iTunes and Amazon, using data from social networks to recommend new titles to watch. The service shut down in May, with a message posted on the Matcha.tv website informing users that all of their data had been deleted.

Matcha isn’t the only one to try and fail in the social TV space: Screentribe, Twelevision, Otherscreen, BeeTV, Philo and a bunch of others all threw the towel over the last year or so. That’s in part because one can only have so many Facebook-connected TV guides, but in part also because a companion app really can’t solve the fundamental problems of TV, including those exploding pay TV costs that consumers are increasingly unwilling to pay.

That’s where Apple could come in. The company is rumored to be in talks to provide an online-only pay TV service, which presumably would look very different from traditional cable. It’s unclear how advanced these talks are, and whether or not they’d be tied to a long-rumored revamp of the company’s Apple TV product – but acqui-hires like this one could help Apple to staff up for whatever it is working on.

  1. Apple has been rumored to be in talks with content providers for several years. So far, NADA.

    I’d like to get an Apple TV, but like a lot of others, I’m waiting until there’s a breakthrough on content. Until then, it’s smoke and mirrors. There’s a huge market waiting for Apple TV if it can indeed deliver content now available only on cable/satellite services.

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