Glidr aims to help consumers navigate a sea of streaming options

What are you watching? It's a question that tends to pop up frequently among family, friends and coworkers. The water cooler may be a corporate relic, but thanks to the rise and popularity of free and paid streaming services, the video landscape is rife with water cooler-worthy TV shows, series and movies. Perhaps too many.

Startup Glidr Inc. wants to help consumers cut through the clutter and zero in on content their social media circles enjoy and recommend. The company is tackling the challenge with a free app that recently launched on Android and iOS devices after several months of testing.

The idea is to help consumers discover content they might be interested in watching and help them manage the various streaming services they use and pay for. But rather than relying heavily on AI and machine learning techniques to surface and recommend content, Glidr's platform is powered in part by what a user's family and friends are watching and recommending.

"When your friend recommends something or your family member recommends something to watch, you're probably going to watch it," contends Glidr CEO Adam Tom, who recently joined the Light Reading Podcast to discuss the company and trends impacting the streaming sector. "There's all these great recommendation engines out there. But when your family or friend says something, that's really a strong recommendation."

Christopher Lee, Glidr's product director, adds: "Initially, we will seed the experience with editorially-driven recommendations and a very linear push of collated content. But we also encourage our users to share recommendations amongst themselves. As the [user's] social network starts to exchange recommendations, we can apply machine learning to this exchange."

Glidr's ranks include vets from the cable and video tech industries. Tom worked for Imedia, Terayon and RGB Networks (sold to Imagine Communications in 2015), and more recently was with Samsung, heading up North American engineering for smart TVs as well as engineering for Samsung's connected TV ad business. Lee is a video engineering veteran previously with Gemstar TV Guide and Comcast, where he aided in the development of products for the operator's X1 video platform.

Among other examples of Glidr's links to cable and video tech, Mike Pohl (a former exec with nCUBE and C-COR) is on the Glidr board, and Comcast exec Mark Hess is on the company's advisory board. Discovery founder and cable programming legend John Hendricks is an investor.

You can download a lightly edited transcript of the podcast here. If you want to skip around and listen, here are a few topics discussed during this podcast:

  • Details about the Glidr team and its ties to the cable and video tech industries (00:30)
  • Problems and challenges the company is trying to address with its direct-to-consumer app (3:22)
  • How Glidr is tapping into a user's circle of family and friends, rather than just AI and machine learning techniques, to deliver movie and TV recommendations (5:30)
  • How the company intends to help consumers manage and track their streaming subscriptions and provide a secure way to store and manage passwords in a central location (18:00)
  • How Glidr expects its revenue model to evolve into areas such as marketing services and sponsorships as it scales up its user base (21:00)
  • An update on Glidr's financial situation, including a recent investment from Goodwater Capital (27:10)
  • A snapshot of the company's plans and priorities for the rest of 2022 and into 2023 (28:45)

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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