Yahoo! Buys IntoNow, Getting Into Interactive TV or Back Into Online Video?

Yahoo! Buys IntoNow, Getting Into Interactive TV or Back Into Online Video?

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Just last week I wrote about IntoNow’s tech and how it’s being used by Pepsi and said that it could be a sort of stepping stone to bring the masses to the interactivity of Internet TV. Yahoo! must have read my article because this week, they bought the company. So does that mean, after some time where Yahoo! was sort of  separating themselves from online video, they’re now ready to get into it in a more interactive, advertising-focused way?

You might remember some time back that Yahoo! closed their video offering. Now, just a few months later, they’re investing in a firm that has data on some five years or so of backlog TV and a technology that has the ability to record a small piece of something on TV and determine what it is then tie in offers like coupons, etc delivered in real time to your iOS device.

In the article last week I mentioned how it sounded just like Internet TV.  Here’s how I summed up last week’s news:

You know what this sounds like? Yep, Internet TV. But instead of needing just one device, you need two. A step backwards? Not quite, more like the missing link perhaps.

We need to get people accustomed to doing more than one thing at a time. Technology like Google TV and stuff like this gives people that stepping stone, baby step approach. Now you don’t have to potentially interrupt the viewing experience for everyone by commandeering the TV screen, you can access all the info right on your personal mobile, be it iPhone, iPad or whatever.

Sure, some of us often have computers within arm’s reach while watching TV but there are probably more that don’t. This will help get people used to using computing technology to gain more information about a TV show. Once they’re familiar and comfortable with that we can then start ushering them all into the all-on-one solutions that are really Internet TV.

The other thing about this is that people will get used to having far more information available to them which will make them want it more and more. Then again, this is only iOS owners and we know that those types (like myself) are more tech savvy generally. So maybe this won’t be the missing link between TV and Internet information.

Well it seems that Yahoo! also saw the value in the company and their tech. Considering the size of their advertising network I can see them making good use of this and helping their clients get some cooperation between their online ad campaigns and TV campaigns.

IntoNow can also track online video much the same way it does with TV and with so many programs showing up online, there’s no reason they couldn’t tie together in the app. This could certainly give Yahoo! a leg up in the Internet TV area by giving more value to their advertisers as well as more information to the viewers.

But are they going to use it mostly to tie into displaying content on connected devices or displaying on TVs with an iOS device in hand? It remains what their plans are.

Here’s a thought, they could make a fully interactive Internet TV and ad application for set-top boxes and other connected devices. Through the app you get access to content, TV, film trailers, etc, that are hosted on the Yahoo! network. In the viewing window, the technology listens to the content and flips up information, ads and special offers in real time that correlate to what you’re watching. Well that’s nothing special really, they should be able to do that already. In fact everyone should be able to do that really since the content is generally hosted and called from the content publisher servers.

I don’t know how Yahoo! is going to leverage this and in the end it seems a bit of a strange purchase for them just now at a time when they’ve been re-organizing and aren’t even running their own search engine or video content site anymore. Perhaps they’re just focusing on the value ad for advertisers and they’re going to convert to just a content portal and ad network.

Yahoo!’s Sr. VP Bill Shaughnessy was quoted as saying that it offers them some opportunities in search, mobile and connected TV but I’m hard pressed to see what those are so perhaps they’ll enlighten us soon. I don’t  really, personally, consider them a strong contender in any of those areas, especially video. In fact if anything, they’re more like a news scraping site to me as I seem them as simply aggregating content from other sites and displaying it on their own pages.

Quick survey: Who here goes to Yahoo! to watch video online…and why?

Not I!

All in all it seems a risky bid for Yahoo!, scooping up a three-month-old company with a team of seven and really only one major client.


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