Fanhattan takes on online video with new Web interface

Content discovery startup Fanhattan has kicked up its universe a notch by moving beyond Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iOS and releasing a version of its guide for the Web, making it available to more people and adding features that should prove helpful to those looking for online video content.

Originally launched in 2011 as a way for iPad and iPhone users to find movies and TV shows without sifting through potentially millions of titles and sites, the company has now moved a limited edition onto the Web where it's granting access to the first 1,000 visitors who enter an activation code set by the Los Angeles Times, which also reported the story.

Subscribers can use the app to develop watch lists of movies they'd like to view. The site then notifies them when those titles are in theaters--and gives them a link to buy tickets online--or if they're available from a download store or a streaming service. The new Web version offers access to 13 more sources of video than the iOS version and almost three times as many shows as can be watched for free.

Fanhattan—oddly named since it's based in San Mateo, Calif.—offers more than titles on the more than one million pieces of content it helps consumers discover. There are also plot summaries, cast member bios, feedback from other viewers and links to similar films or TV shows.

"What Fanhattan doesn't provide is a built-in video player, which sets it apart from an all-in-one service such as Burbank-based M-Go," the story said.

Fanhattan's "watch now" section instead provides links to download stores or streaming video services.

"The vision here is not to create a competitor to Entertainment Weekly," said Gilles BianRosa, Fanhattan's chief executive, dispelling the impression that this is exactly what Fanhattan is trying to do. Fanhattan is "essentially a destination where we're going to invite curators … to come in and contribute."

It's all about time-shifted viewing, BianRosa concluded.

"When it comes to entertainment, the place and time where you discover things is different from the place and time where you watch them. Much of that discovery comes when people are sitting at a computer, browsing sites or interacting with a social network. The company wanted to make it easy for people who get interested in a movie or show online to add it to their queue on Fanhattan, which could help them find it later when they have the time to watch it."

For more:
- the Los Angeles Times carried this story

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