TV Gets Social Around The Virtual Watercooler

Follow up on the launch of Watercooler, an interactive solution to buy products seen in TV.

If I take it back to middle school, I remember that morning talks with my buddies were usually about the shows that played on TV the night before. Being TV-grounded by my parents didn’t just mean missing the pm-hours French equivalent of Dr Phil, it was a way to outcast me from the morning social talks. TV isn’t just entertainment, it is a central referent for our social lives.

A month and a half ago, Watercooler Inc launched its destination Website In a jiff, TVloop is a community for TV shows’ fans. Beyond TVloop, Watercooler is a social network application available on Facebook, Myspace, Hi5… that successfully built communities of millions of TV shows’ fans. TVloop is a move towards centralizing this success (and be less dependent of the social platforms Watercooler lives on).

During the interview, we mainly talked about the company’s business model, which is pretty novel to my opinion. Watercooler designed a multi-level revenue stream model around its communities:

  1. Classic display ads.
  2. 2. Partnership with Seenon to sell TV shows’ merchandise.
  3. A mobile component that keeps you up-to-date with your favorite shows.
  4. A market research tool to help TV networks predict fans’ behaviors and expectations.

That’s solid. I also asked Kevin Chou – the CEO of Watercooler Inc – if starting a social app was a winning model to build a resourceful community like Watercooler did. He personally believes that it was the case 18 months ago when Facebook first opened its platform to third-party developers. Today, there are tens of thousands of apps, and the app market is full of experienced developers. Harsher competition kills opportunities.

Monetizing professional video content is a huge challenge these days. Instead of being yet another video platform, Watercooler worked out a partnership with Hulu to distribute TV shows in their network. I don’t remember if the partnership is a rev-share model, but even if it is not, I’d rather watch the latest Simpsons on a site where I can interact with the show through discussions and games. So much stickier !

TVloop is a great, well-designed destination for all TV fans. It is even a little addictive: I keep getting slurped in those trivia quizzes that dare to question my favorite TV shows’ intelligence. I’ll show them!!