Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fanhattan Review - It's a Start to Something Cool

A co-worker of mine of mine recently hipped me to this app called Fanhattan that seemingly attempts to aggregate all movies and TV shows in order to provide the user with a variety of on-demand options to digitally access content from, whether it be streamed or downloaded.  Check this article on TechCrunch about it: Fanhattan Promises Better Internet TV Through The Power Of Data 

The problem with this app is that this app doesn't deliver on that promise. It only shows some movies and some TV shows and only access to *EST or **SVOD content providers. Even if it is available for "free" on Hulu, it will only direct you to Hulu Plus, Hulu's paid service. Clearly they want you to spend $ in order to watch. I guess watching ads is not good enough for these stakeholders.

Also all digital streaming services are not available, like Crackle and Flixster. This limitation happens to coincide with their limited catalog as it does not contain TV shows like Seinfeld or movies like Step Brothers. Obviously the folks that are investing in this app have chosen to exclude their competitors. Looks like studio battles are still very much alive and kicking with no end in sight. This is really too bad. By creating apps like this that have so much potential but are yet so limited by the stakeholders they eliminate the entire reason to have an app like this in the first place! If people don't use it, then there's really no point. I only see a need for this type of product is if it makes good on the promise of better Internet TV. 
It needs to actually make finding/consuming content (on the go or in your living room) better through data by actually providing the following: 
  1. Include every movie and TV show you can find in the IMDB database. (Be studio agnostic!) 
  2. Have an exhaustive list of digital content providers and prioritize those providers by "free"/ad-supported models, then direct to consumer models. Either way the content providers are still getting paid. (Be provider agnostic!)

This app will be doomed for failure unless the business owners can convince the stakeholders of this.

Fanhattan is currently only available as an app on iOS devices but they have web and connected TV app plans in the works. See their vanity website for more details:

*EST = Electronic Sell Through aka buy it once and own it "forever"
**SVOD = Subscription Video On Demand aka a service you pay a monthly fee for like Netflix and Hulu Plus.