Buys Service

Co-Founders Will Help Bring's Watchlist to Mobile, Tablets

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If you're a couple of engineers in a garage somewhere -- and you're not building an app to make finding a space easier -- you're probably working on a social-TV app. General Manager Christy Tanner knows this because she meets each week with dozens of engineers and entrepreneurs, all looking to reinvent the experience of watching TV. Today, said it has bought one such business --, a self-funded startup that has had a program guide product out since September -- in a bid to help itself advance TV program guides. will shut down the service in the next few weeks and allow users to import their data to co-founders Shaun Harrison and Saverio Mondelli will join, and a third employee will consult to help the company create versions of's interactive Watchlist for iOS and Android devices.

"Hiring engineers with experience is challenging in New York; hiring engineers with both mobile and entertainment experience is even more challenging," Ms. Tanner said.

She would not disclose financial terms of the deal.

With 6.5 million installations and 1.5 million active mobile users, is one of the bigger players in TV-related mobile apps. Messrs. Harrison and Mondelli will join an engineering team of 20 in New York.

Watchlist, which Ms. Tanner calls "the future of the company," is a guide to TV content wherever that content is -- be it Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, the open web, proprietary cable or satellite-TV systems or video-on-demand services. Launched in August, Watchlist lets users search by title, or follow individual celebrities or sports teams; 460,000 users have created lists.

"TV needs to be simple again, and that 's what TV Guide is here for," Ms. Tanner said. is more tech-focused than most other content companies, largely because its core listings product has always relied heavily on technology. Today its 70 employees are broken down equally into technology, editorial and sales. is owned by a joint venture consisting of the entertainment studio Lionsgate and One Equity Partners, an investment arm of JPMorgan Chase. The group also owns the TV Guide cable channel, which operates as a separate business. Both are expected to be sold off, with retaining the brand and TV Guide Channel repositioning as a general-entertainment network.

TV Guide magazine is owned by a different private-equity group.

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