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Matcha's status as best among video content aggregators led Apple to buy

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Apple bought video programming recommendation site Matcha earlier this week not because of the talent the company had, but because the site had developed a service that apparently stood head and shoulders above its competition.



When Apple acquired Matcha, the transaction was not simply an "acqui-hire," according to TechCrunch. Instead, the Cupertino company bought Matcha's product, which is centered on an algorithm that Matcha has been honing for some time. According to sources familiar with the company's operations, Matcha had experienced rapid user growth in the months before the acquisition, and it had already achieved a top-15 spot in the App Store's Entertainment charts.

Apple was particularly impressed with Matcha's user acquisition and user engagement strategy, according to one source. The company reportedly had "found the answer" to rapid user growth and time spent in app.

This latest report also dispels some assertions that had surrounded the acquisition. Contrary to reports that emerged when word of the buy went public, Apple made the acquisition back in May when Matcha originally shut down, not post-closure. Additionally, the price for Matcha is thought to have been between $10 and $15 million, not the $1 to $1.5 million that was previously reported.

Matcha's technology could very well go into future versions of the Apple TV set-top box, but it may also see use across Apple's entertainment and media offerings. The firm is the latest in a number of smaller acquisitions Apple has made over time. Previously, Apple bought Chomp, an app search and recommendation engine, shutting down the service shortly thereafter just as has been done with Matcha.

Apple has bought nine or ten companies since October, picking up the pace from the year previous. CEO Tim Cook pointed out that most of these buys are of private companies with a corporate structure that will mesh well with Apple's. The company only discloses those buys "when we have to," according to Cook.
post #2 of 17
I never used this service, but can't wait to try Apple's version. The Apple TV movie listings suck. Every damn category ends up showing 75% the same movies as many other categories. It is worthless. We get tired of trying to find something to rent or buy before we can even find anything.
post #3 of 17

Really hoping this is the key to implementing a universal search function in Apple TV.  Only TiVo has it- but it doesn't benefit them at all, whereas having an iTunes purchase option would benefit Apple.  I really like this acquisition.  And for a minimal cost.

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2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini Retina, iPhone 6, iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #4 of 17

The key to the future of TV lies in how content is handled. We will desperately need a way of finding content we want to watch (popular and our niche interests), with a system that can present likely candidates, hide what we don't like, remember and use what we've watched before (to provide the next episode, and similar shows), and provide neat interfaces into all the above (not just a search list!).

 

Hope Apple steps up.

 

(edit: I was looking for a movie recommendation engine recently. Didn't notice Matcha, but signed up for Jinni which is pretty good. Still, like most technology firms, they seem to miss some obvious easy features.)

post #5 of 17
This type of service would really help with shows from foreign sources. There are many excellent British, Canadian, Swedish, ... series available on Netflix and other sources that we here in the US have never heard of. My dream (Apple TV) system would help me go directly to shows I am interested in without ever again having to surf through televangelists, product hawkers, etc.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Really hoping this is the key to implementing a universal search function in Apple TV.  Only TiVo has it- but it doesn't benefit them at all, whereas having an iTunes purchase option would benefit Apple.  I really like this acquisition.  And for a minimal cost.

Whatever happened with Steve's comment that they had "cracked it"?

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


Whatever happened with Steve's comment that they had "cracked it"?

 

 

 

So, you do  not get it?

How many years do any idea gestates until it is served to the public?

 

Being cracked ( abstractly ) is one thing. Now, bringing it to reality, it takes time and additional effort.

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

The key to the future of TV lies in how content is handled. We will desperately need a way of finding content we want to watch (popular and our niche interests), with a system that can present likely candidates, hide what we don't like, remember and use what we've watched before (to provide the next episode, and similar shows), and provide neat interfaces into all the above (not just a search list!).

 

Hope Apple steps up.

 

(edit: I was looking for a movie recommendation engine recently. Didn't notice Matcha, but signed up for Jinni which is pretty good. Still, like most technology firms, they seem to miss some obvious easy features.)


Hey mate,

 

I'm not picking you out personaIly, I just don't understand the concept of "please tell me what I should watch, read and hear".

 

When I read a book, I look at its bibliography and research noted books for possible further interest.  It's a tree structure - read, research, read some more linked options, continue.  I do the same with movies. The search criteria might be based on genres (crime, conspiracy, nature, science fiction, whatever) or directors, main actors, themes and so on.  What I don't do, is to wait for someone else to offer me (an often ad-laden) view of "what I might need".

 

You say: "We will desperately need a way of finding content we want to watch".  I don't get that.

 

Help me here.  You're an individual capable of doing their own research, according to their own individual needs and requirements, - right?

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumergo View Post

Help me here.  You're an individual capable of doing their own research, according to their own individual needs and requirements, - right?

Did you know you needed or required a touchscreen phone before Apple made one? I've enjoyed some really good shows because they were recommended. Misfits is one of the zaniest, offbeat, and original comedies I've ever seen and I only came across it because it was recommended.
post #10 of 17
I agree with Sumergo, to a point. What I want to know is WHERE can I find what I already know I want to watch. Is it on iTunes, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vimeo, Netflix . . . ?
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

I agree with Sumergo, to a point. What I want to know is WHERE can I find what I already know I want to watch. Is it on iTunes, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vimeo, Netflix . . . ?

Roku will search Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, VUDU, etc. I've saved money because of that feature because while a show could be for pay on one channel it could be free on another.
post #12 of 17
I wonder if the technology from Matcha could be used to create a sort of iTunes radio TV model.

One where your stations are based on either a general genre or your favorite show.

Why hasn't anyone come up with a concept where you can watch a comedy station of TV shows back to back to back with no interruption just like pandora or iTunes radio for music.

Likewise a cop drama station or stations based on yor fav shows or your preferences.

That would completely redefine TV as we know it. Yes Hulu does something similar but their interface is terrible and their autoplay shows rarely match as well as they should.

Anyway a sort of iTunes based TV model in that vein would be amazing IMO and even better if free.
post #13 of 17
If you read between the lines this hints at Steve's "secret sauce". Think of it as iTune's Match for your TV. The key is it's "genre-centric"! So if you like Poker After Dark, Dexter, and Charlie Rose, you tell Siri and Apple TV creates 3 customs channels. My vision of Steve's vision.
post #14 of 17
"When you're young, you look at television and think, There's a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that's not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That's a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It's the truth." - Steve Jobs, Interview in WIRED magazine (February 1996)
 
Apple will give us exactly what we want.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumergo View Post


Hey mate,

 

I'm not picking you out personaIly, I just don't understand the concept of "please tell me what I should watch, read and hear".

 

When I read a book, I look at its bibliography and research noted books for possible further interest.  It's a tree structure - read, research, read some more linked options, continue.  I do the same with movies. The search criteria might be based on genres (crime, conspiracy, nature, science fiction, whatever) or directors, main actors, themes and so on.  What I don't do, is to wait for someone else to offer me (an often ad-laden) view of "what I might need".

 

You say: "We will desperately need a way of finding content we want to watch".  I don't get that.

 

Help me here.  You're an individual capable of doing their own research, according to their own individual needs and requirements, - right?

 

I do the same with books, it requires some research, and it's worthwhile as it's a bigger investment of time to read the book. But there are also many more books than there are films. It's easy to find books from looking at the most popular books in a genre, noted books, as you say - and it's easy if you share some interests with a few friends and they point me towards something I might like. 

 

We think we're choosing well, but actually we're using a few coarse guidelines, plus a generic popularity. There are some great authors who have published for years before they get "discovered" on some new book, and suddenly all their old books sell brilliantly too. The quality of their content hasn't changed at all, it's just that nobody knew they were there. We need to find those books (or movies, or music).

 

Right now Apple provides some coarse insight into movies. Top rentals, themes like "Supernatural Romance" (in my iTunes today), genres. You can jump from a movie to its actors to other films with those actors.

 

Like you I research my movies. But there's more to it.

 

Most of us are "lazy viewers", and even when we research what we want to watch, we're not researching it as thoroughly as we think. People used to go to a video store to rent movies, but it was well known that older movies that are coming on TV this week will rent much better for that week and a few more weeks - so people are selecting based on advertising elsewhere and selecting predictable shows, and that's when they had a whole video store to choose from. 

 

TV channels have for years tried to theme our content too. They position TV series consecutively that are similar to keep viewers... but in effect they're trying to group shows that will probably be of similar interest. Trick a viewer into watching enough of something new to get interested. Advertise a show in a related show.

 

You say you don't let others tell you what to watch - but you would be a very rare individual if you didn't ever watch a TV channel, or didn't glance at the main lists of movies on AppleTV (or whatever your device is). Rotten Tomatoes is similarly telling you what you might like, in its own way. If all you do is start with a genre with all shows equally represented... I don't even know where you'd find that, they always put the most popular at the top. Viewing by actor is more even handed though.

 

I'm saying that if I open a Genre, I want to see the films in that genre that I'd be most likely to like, based on my history of viewing (automated) and my manual rankings. I'd also rather not just have genre lists in the first place - I'd rather the broad themes I like to be the groupings I start with (similar to Genres, but more customised).

 

I don't want the TV to tell me what to watch. Just present better options to me.

 

You'll also notice that the vast majority of "choice" is presented as a grid of options, and people think that's good. And yet TV for years has let us browse our choices by surfing through channels, and by providing familiar EPGs that show us what the channels think we're likely to want to watch at certain times. Our Video-on-Demand choices aren't being presented effectively as a list of choices - if I want to watch a movie, why isn't there some emulation of the ability to surf from channel to channel, seeing what catches my eye? Maybe "surfing" our choices is showing some point in the first 5 minutes of 100 movies I might like. Maybe that's watching a full screen trailer, and after a few seconds clicking "next", until you find something interesting. In either case I don't want totally random movies, I'd like it to heavily weight it towards my interests, and throw some randoms (including ones my friends have loved but I might not!).

 

Hope that clarifies... a bit long winded sorry! :)

 

(edited to clarify)


Edited by GregAlexander - 8/16/13 at 9:36pm
post #16 of 17

I won't name "names" but one of the comments in another article on AppleInsider criticized Apple for doing very few things to benefit humanity, and cited Apple's lack of acquisitions as an example of Apple doing very little for the benefit of society. The same post went on to complement Google for their purchase of Motorola, saying that even if the acquisition ends up a total bust for Google, Google still deserves credit for trying to save "once great American company."

 

The whole tech industry should take lessons from Apple on acquisitions. If Google can spend $12 billion for Motorola and Microsoft can spend $8.8 billion for Skype, Apple can buy Netflix for around $20 billion (this includes current market cap plus a premium), Nokia for around the same price, and they can throw in AMD and Nvidia just for laughs. It's not that Apple doesn't have the cash to do those deals. It's that there is a high probability of destroying shareholder value with those deals. The Ballmers, Pages, Whitmans, etc. get to brag all day long about who closed the biggest deal, but bragging rights don't buy you beans. 

 

Apple has a track record of quietly making small acquisitions. I don't think Apple has paid more than $1 billion for any transaction since Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997. Apple came close to doing so with Dropbox but that's the only one we know of. Most of the time, they have paid a few hundred million for acquisitions. As an example, Apple bought PA Semi for $278 million in 2008. The PA Semi team, now part of Apple, designed the A5, which is in the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and other products. We all know Apple made several times more than $278 million from iPad and iPhone sales. They've made back the value of that PA Semi acquisition several times over. 

 

And also, people mock Microsoft for having "bought" their innovation. The same is said of Google and the same is said of Apple. What's ironic about that statement, especially with regards to Apple is that their acquisitions are so small that chances are, the companies they bought had at best, produced a prototype but were years away from selling a product to customers. Apple didn't just buy a company, get rid of its branding, slap on the Apple logo and start selling the product as is. Most of the time, there was significant legwork that had to be done before putting the product in front on customers. Siri is probably the only thing that could be called "bought and sold as is" but even there, Apple had to do a lot of legwork to integrate it into iOS, and Apple has aggressively recruited foreign language speakers, engineers, and others to improve Siri. 

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

 

I do the same with books, it requires some research, and it's worthwhile as it's a bigger investment of time to read the book. But there are also many more books than there are films. It's easy to find books from looking at the most popular books in a genre, noted books, as you say - and it's easy if you share some interests with a few friends and they point me towards something I might like. 

 

We think we're choosing well, but actually we're using a few coarse guidelines, plus a generic popularity. There are some great authors who have published for years before they get "discovered" on some new book, and suddenly all their old books sell brilliantly too. The quality of their content hasn't changed at all, it's just that nobody knew they were there. We need to find those books (or movies, or music).

 

Right now Apple provides some coarse insight into movies. Top rentals, themes like "Supernatural Romance" (in my iTunes today), genres. You can jump from a movie to its actors to other films with those actors.

 

Like you I research my movies. But there's more to it.

 

Most of us are "lazy viewers", and even when we research what we want to watch, we're not researching it as thoroughly as we think. People used to go to a video store to rent movies, but it was well known that older movies that are coming on TV this week will rent much better for that week and a few more weeks - so people are selecting based on advertising elsewhere and selecting predictable shows, and that's when they had a whole video store to choose from. 

 

TV channels have for years tried to theme our content too. They position TV series consecutively that are similar to keep viewers... but in effect they're trying to group shows that will probably be of similar interest. Trick a viewer into watching enough of something new to get interested. Advertise a show in a related show.

 

You say you don't let others tell you what to watch - but you would be a very rare individual if you didn't ever watch a TV channel, or didn't glance at the main lists of movies on AppleTV (or whatever your device is). Rotten Tomatoes is similarly telling you what you might like, in its own way. If all you do is start with a genre with all shows equally represented... I don't even know where you'd find that, they always put the most popular at the top. Viewing by actor is more even handed though.

 

I'm saying that if I open a Genre, I want to see the films in that genre that I'd be most likely to like, based on my history of viewing (automated) and my manual rankings. I'd also rather not just have genre lists in the first place - I'd rather the broad themes I like to be the groupings I start with (similar to Genres, but more customised).

 

I don't want the TV to tell me what to watch. Just present better options to me.

 

You'll also notice that the vast majority of "choice" is presented as a grid of options, and people think that's good. And yet TV for years has let us browse our choices by surfing through channels, and by providing familiar EPGs that show us what the channels think we're likely to want to watch at certain times. Our Video-on-Demand choices aren't being presented effectively as a list of choices - if I want to watch a movie, why isn't there some emulation of the ability to surf from channel to channel, seeing what catches my eye? Maybe "surfing" our choices is showing some point in the first 5 minutes of 100 movies I might like. Maybe that's watching a full screen trailer, and after a few seconds clicking "next", until you find something interesting. In either case I don't want totally random movies, I'd like it to heavily weight it towards my interests, and throw some randoms (including ones my friends have loved but I might not!).

 

Hope that clarifies... a bit long winded sorry! :)

 

(edited to clarify)


Hey Greg, thanks for the considered reply.  I do agree with many of your points.  I think my feelings originate in a strong distaste of being manipulated.  For example, when I think of the future capabilities of near field communication types of interaction - where my smart device notifies me that the store I am walking past "has a great deal just for YOU Sumergo" - I cringe. ;-)

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