Fanhattan, an iOS app that helps viewers find movies and TV shows to watch on an iPad, rolled out a beta web version of its service on Thursday.
Fanhattan is something like a TV Guide for online video: Users enter the movie or TV show they want to view, and the app hooks them up with a list of online providers (Netflix, Amazon, HBO Go, and so on) where they can watch it. The company’s expansion to the web allows it to offer more content recommendations from more providers — 29 providers on the web, compared to 16 on iOS — as well as more free shows, for a total database of a million shows and videos. Web viewers, for instance, can watch shows on broadcasters’ websites, and they can access Hulu as well as Hulu Plus. “Depending on what device you’re using the service on, it will clearly show you your options for watching,” Fanhattan CEO Gilles BianRosa told me.
BianRosa says that Fanhattan launched on iPad first because the difficulty of finding content to watch was more pronounced there — “all those apps that don’t talk to each other.” The web is a little different: “Many people actually discover movies and shows on the web, so we wanted to make sure that the discovery aspect was really front and center, especially the social aspects.”
The company is launching a new blog, Fanhattan Voice, that provides video recommendations and other entertainment news and features. And the company’s WatchLists feature, which has been available on iOS since last summer, is being expanded on both iOS and web: Users can now curate their own lists around different themes and can share them with others, rather than just marking which TV shows and movies they want to watch.
BianRosa told GigaOM’s Janko Roettgers last summer that the company will expand to connected devices in the future, but he isn’t ready to announce anything yet. “We’re going it one screen at a time,” he told me. “But we think that launching on the web in the way we have will help consumers in the living room discover what’s available.”
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