New site Matcha.tv is trying to bring users the best movie and TV recommendations across a number of online video services, leveraging their interests and social graph to surface streaming videos that they might be interested in.
Matcha.tv has attempted to build up an “uber social discovery platform” that taps into all of your favorite online subscription services, like Netflix (s NFLX) and Hulu Plus. It then matches your interests up against your social graph, ranking recommendations based on interests of your friends and friends of friends. By doing so, Matcha.tv tries to have it both ways: On the one hand it automates recommendations, but on the other hand it leverages the trust from matching tastes of your friends.
According to founder and CEO Guy Piekarz, Matcha.tv was founded in part because Netflix did away with its “friends” feature, which allowed you to view movies that were rated and viewed by your contacts. So the founders tried to re-create the feature, while also expanding it to take into account other online video services as well.
Once a user has signed in with Facebook Connect, the application surfaces recommended videos in a number of ways: It has a “Top Picks” list based on its social recommendation feed, provides a timeline-based feed of friends’ activity, enables users to check their friends’ profiles to track their consumption history, and provides a social search layer.
“We want to be the social gateway to video subscription services and help you make the right decision of what to watch,” Piekarz said.
For now, Matcha.tv is focused on the big distributors, so you won’t see recommendations for web originals. Sources include Netflix, Hulu Plus, professional videos on YouTube and Facebook, as well as services like iTunes and Amazon Video on Demand. The idea is to provide one-click access to videos that users may want to watch on any service that they’re available.
Several video recommendation services have popped up over the last several years, and they are increasingly focused on hooking into social networks. Clicker added a social layer by integrating with Facebook to leverage user interests and social graph for its recommendations engine, for instance. And Netflix is reportedly integrating with Facebook to add social features that weren’t well executed through the “Friends” implementation. But with Clicker acquired by CBS Interactive (s CBS) and Sidereel acquired by Rovi, (s ROVI) Matcha.tv is one of the few independent social recommendation engines left out there.
Matcha.tv is currently in private beta. For those that want to test it out, we’ve secured some beta invite codes. Click the link and try it out for yourself. Then let us know what you think in the comments!