We love uncovering individuals launching social TV projects on the side out of passion. Andrew Fernandez, an iOS developer from New Jersey, has launched Renewed, the latest social TV app to hit the store for iPhone and iPad. Even more interesting is the social TV problem he’s trying to solve.
Besides its one-man team, Renewed is interesting because of its unique approach: it aims to correlate your check-ins with linear TV ratings and then give insight on if a show might or might not get renewed. He does this by parsing “press releases, blogs and tweets” that contain the information – genius.
Fernandez built this app so he would have a way to keep track of his favorite shows. It allows you to check in to TV in multiple ways, and it’s the first social TV app we’ve seen that’s actually throwing traditional public Nielsen data right into the experience. “Using nights and weekends I built every part of the app, from the backend tools that let me manage the data, create charts of ratings, and also watch in real-time how the users are using Renewed, to the actual app front end which is completely Native iOS code,” he told Lost Remote. “I also designed everything as well including the interface, logos and identity, and websites – now I’m a bit obsessed with watching the real-time dashboard on the backend, I’m working on learning Android next to try my hand at an Android version,” he added.
Lost Remote: What’s Renewed, how does it work and why did you build it?
Andrew Fernandez: Renewed is an iPhone/iPad app that’s trying to create a new TV show ratings system that’s more accurate than our current systems. It works by letting you check-in to the show you are currently watching like most social TV apps, but this check-in is then analyzed and then compared against Nielsen ratings to create a more accurate rating for each show. I originally built Renewed to fill a hole in my own personal TV watching habits. I couldn’t keep track of everything I wanted to watch and the existing TV guides were kind of a mess. Then by the time I figured out what show to start following it was already canceled. I wanted to try and change that system.
LR: What social TV problem is it solving?
Fernandez: I felt that while social TV was growing in the conversation and content space, but no one was really doing anything to show who was really watching and how that affects the show’s renewal or cancellation chances. Renewed puts that info front and center and with some future updates to the platform and apps I hope to bring more of that info to the users.
LR: What are the key features? How is it different than other social TV apps?
Fernandez: Renewed has some great new features for both the iPhone and iPad. The app is completely native which means every screen is super responsive, that makes following shows and organizing your watch history really smooth. We’ve also integrated with all the top social sources so you can check-in to your Get Glue and Miso accounts as well as be part of the conversation on Twitter and Facebook. On iPad there is a pretty addictive live Twitter stream that follows the hashtag for the show. I find myself watching the stream sometimes more than the actual show.
Besides the social aspect I’ve also built in a whole system similar to Fanhattan where for each show and episode you can with one tap be watching that episode in Netflix, Hbo Go, iTunes, Hulu, and Amazon in an upcoming update. This makes figuring out which episode of game of thrones is next on my list super easy.
What makes Renewed different is that while it has all these great discovery and social features you always know where that show stands because I think that’s more important than anything.
LR: What are your favorite TV shows?
Fernandez: Wow, well I’ll give you a top 5 in no particular order: Star Trek (any of the version- except enterprise), Fringe, Stargate, The West Wing, Psych. Also the obligatory Firefly should be included as well, since it’s a great example of what I’d like Renewed to prevent in the future.
LR: How do you scan and use Nielsen information?
Fernandez: I built a back-end admin system that parses press releases, blogs, tweets and other manually added info to generate a sort of stock market value for every network and show. I hope to strengthen that data set as the user base grows to then use my own check-in data to create a secondary rating to compare against.
LR: Where does the name of the app come from and what’s your background?
Fernandez: Renewed is named after the term used to signify a TV Show being brought back for another season. My background is I’m an iOS developer by day in the eCommerce space but the social TV space is my not so secret passion. I’ve been working on some incarnation or another of Renewed since about 2007 as a passion project. I’m hoping that Renewed opens up a whole new area of data for the space.
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