AOL revives Moviefone for push into TV listings space

AOL is reviving the Moviefone service it acquired in 1999 in an effort to become the "go-to place for TV listings" in direct competition with a number of services already sitting out there, either on cable set-top boxes or via mobile apps, such as TV Guide. The big difference: it's making available online content listings from providers like Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Hulu.

An item on the Moviefone Web page introduced the new plan to add TV to what had been a movie listings service.

"One of the changes we're most excited about is the addition of TV to Moviefone. Not only will you find episode listings, cast information and air times for your favorite shows, you can also discover new favorites through our curated watch lists and exclusive features … which highlights the best movies and TV every Thursday. With TV in a new golden age, we couldn't be more excited about our latest addition."

According to a story in Upstart Business Journal, the move is being pushed by a pair of TV veterans, Lloyd Braun, owner of Whalerock Industries--which operates the Moviefone website and app--and Susan Lyne, chief executive of AOL Brand Group. The two "have addressed an issue that involves newer entertainment world players that cater to consumers who want to watch TV and movies at their convenience."

Ominously, perhaps as just another layer of annoyance for cable operators, this specifically includes "cord cutters who no longer have cable," Upstart's Teresa Novellino wrote.

The big advantage to cord cutters will be the ability to determine, via the new Moviefone, where the content is available from a list of choices that include OTT providers.

"There are a mindboggling number of ways to watch movies and TV: Netflix, iTunes, On Demand, Vudu, YouTube, etc.," the Moviefone post stated. "Luckily, we've done the heavy listing when it comes to finding how and where to watch pretty much anything."

For more:
- Moviefone has this post
- Upstart Business Journal has this story
- The New York Times has this story

Related articles:
Pay TV subs willing to pay more for 'outstanding experience,' study says
Amazon, HBO sign exclusive multiyear content deal
Time Warner Cable developing its first RDK-based IP set-top