Pretty much everyone has a show they’re excited about — be it on Netflix, Hulu or on the good ol’ television. For the most part, people find themselves sharing their reactions with other on social media. Inevitably, someone will post a spoiler for whoever is not watching live and flame grudges that can never die. How can we avoid this? The founders of HotSwitch, a new social TV app, think they have found the solution.
With HotSwitch, people will be able join "watch parties" for their favorite shows and react in real time with friends. If none of your friends are watching your shows, you can join global watch parties. I know what you’re thinking: "What makes this different from any messaging app?" For starters, it’s not just a messaging app; it’s so much more.
The app will also manage to be a curator and database for shows. Basically, the app will compare shows that your friends are watching, recommend shows that critics are praising, and remember shows that you have watched and recommend, thus creating a personalized list of suggestions for you. The aim for the app will be to create the most comprehensive and accurate list so you’ll never wonder what to watch next.
In time, the app will also be able to provide different features for user interaction. On top of the local watch parties, global watch parties and friend watch parties, the app will have your favorite shows interact with you. Users will have the option of receiving facts and trivia about shows in real time.
The app even sets out to accommodate for binge watchers. Similar to the real-time watch party function mentioned earlier, viewers will also be able to catch up to friends by telling the app what episode you’re on so you can see their reactions while the show is playing. With a Shazam-like audio recognition feature, the app will be able to recognize what show you’re watching, which episode you’re watching, and how far along you are on said episode.
The app would have practical uses for the television industry as well. Before the age of social media, TV ratings were measured by Nielsen ratings, a deeply flawed system that only measured a certain number of TVs. With HotSwitch, industries will be able to gauge a more accurate figure as to how many people are watching a show and how many people are reviewing it positively.
The company has gained a lot of traction since it started. Besides the buzz it’s been getting online, with watch groups already forming on Facebook before the app’s release, and investments received from TV producer Francisco Cordero and CodeSchool’s founder Gregg Pollack, HotSwitch was recently asked to be a part of Alchemist Accelerator in San Francisco, the second-largest start-up accelerator. The company filled up their slots for 70 beta testers and had over 300 people on the waiting list by the end of 2015, just three months after their entry into their local start-up accelerator, Starter Studio, in Orlando.
With sign-ups increasing exponentially, it seems that this app is here to stay.