Comcast-owned (s CMCSA) social video site Tunerfish is going live today, and it already has a major media company on board to help cross-promote the service. According to a media alert sent out earlier today, cable programmer HBO has teamed up with Tunerfish to promote the upcoming season premiere of True Blood.
Tunerfish, which got its start as a skunkworks project within Comcast earlier this year, was first announced a few weeks ago at TechCrunch Disrupt. Since then, the service has been working out the kinks of its private alpha ahead of being launched into public beta beginning today.
Like location-based services Foursquare and Gowalla, Tunerfish aims to use game mechanics to get users to “check in” to their favorite TV shows, thereby making a social graph for TV and online video. By sharing what they’re watching, either through the Tunerfish site or a dedicated iPhone app, its users are able to get badges and other awards for checkins. Tunerfish isn’t the only game in town for social TV checkins — Miso and Philo (among others) also try to get their users to check in and share what they’re watching. But Tunerfish has a large corporate parent — and now the blessing of a major media company.
While Tunerfish has yet to officially launch, the service has already gotten a bit of validation from HBO, which will use Tunerfish as part of its promotion of hit vampire series True Blood. As part of the True Blood promotion, users who check in to the show during the season premiere will receive the “Truebie” badge, marking them as viewers of the show. And as Tunerfish tries to establish influence among its users, it will track those who get other members to check in to the show. If a user has 10 of his or her contacts also check in, that Tunerfish user will get the “Maker” badge.
In a phone interview, John McCrea, General Manager of Tunerfish, said “It’s great as a young service to get in front of a very large audience” like True Blood‘s.
Tunerfish is just one small part of HBO’s social promotion of True Blood. In addition, HBO is rolling out a new microsite at Bloodcopy.com that will connect fans to live conversations happening on Twitter, allowing users to participate in the chatter or win prizes associated with the show. The microsite will also have trending topics, the ability to sort and search through True Blood-related conversations, and full Twitter functionality to share with other fans on the social network.
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