Here’s a secret about Vine: People are recording a whole lot of clips off of their TVs. Highlights of basketball matches, news bloopers and even tiny fragments of music videos, all recorded with shaky mobile cameras, and often the result of plenty of DVR rewinding and a whole lot of do-overs.
Los Angeles-based social TV startup ConnecTV wants to make this process easier with a new Vine-like app for sharing TV clips. ConnecTV’s app lets users automatically select a highlight from the show they’re currently watching on TV, or search for programming by network name, and then edit the moment they want to share down to a short clip.
All of this is possible without ever accessing your phone’s camera: ConnecTV constantly digests live feeds of 400 channels from all over the U.S., including all major national cable channels and broadcast stations from the top 55 local markets. The result of this effort are clips that look much better than if users had recorded them with their cell phone cameras. And thanks to ConnecTV’s content recognition, it’s able to automatically tag each clip with network and show names as well as a whole bunch of other metadata.
The ConnecTV app lets you share those clips in a very Vine-like fashion, complete with infinite scroll and autoplay once a clip comes in focus. It’s basically like Vine, down to the length of the clip: ConnecTV’s videos are exactly six seconds long, which is no accident. Both Vine and ConnecTV have chosen this length to protect their users’ creations as fair use and not infringe on anyone’s copyright.
I could imagine that not every network agrees with this legal point of view, but ConnecTV’s CEO Ian Aaron told me during a recent interview that he actually wants to help the studios. “Our whole goal is getting people excited about live TV again,” he said. And if people share highlights of TV shows, either through ConnecTVs own app or via Twitter, email or Facebook, then it could get others to tune in.
To that effect, ConnecTV wants to viewers of a clip to tune into the show it came from, or schedule upcoming airings, right from within its video player. The company is also offering postroll ads that are synced to ads running on TV, and promises studios other kinds of promotional features if they chose to partner with the company.
This isn’t ConnecTV’s first app. A previous iteration delivered synchronized content to TV viewers and allowed viewers to chat in real time with each other, much like Zeebox does today. Aaron told me that a lot of that work, including aspects of content recognition and metatada, now power the video sharing app under the hood. But he added that these kinds of multi-purpose social TV apps aren’t want viewers actually want. “The put ten pounds of stuff into a one-pound box,” Aaron said about social TV apps.
Check out a few screenshots of the ConnecTV app below: