ScreenHits TV, the London-based startup trying to take on Google, TiVo and a lot of other big technology companies that are attemping to build a better search and discovery mouse trap, has announced a deal to integrate German streaming platform Joyn into its software tool.
Starting at the end of July, content from Joyn, a combination AVOD/SVOD joint venture launched by ProSeibenSat.1 and Discovery Inc., will surface in the ScreenHits TV search and discovery aggregation guide in the European regions in which the JV is available.
“Joyn has succeeded in becoming a truly local platform that has transformed German TV. This partnership will make it even easier for the millions of fans of its outstanding programming to easily locate its wide selection of popular, binge-worthy conten,” said Rose Adkins Hulse, the former Hollywood Reporter and NBCUniversal executive turned international technology entrepreneur who founded ScreenHits TV.
The Joyn venture is one of several recent moves that seems to have righted Hulse’s ambitious startup, after a rather strange, inauspicious beta launch in July 2020.
Employing a fancy boutique PR New York PR firm focused on fashion and lifestyle brands, but seemingly bereft in the area of technology startups, ScreenHits TV last summer announced a highly ambitious streaming video aggregation agenda that seemed a little bit like Amazon Prime Video Channels and Roku Channels—put all your streaming services in one place, including billing, and you can search among all of them with one software tool.
For starters, even Amazon, Roku and Apple, as well, were starting to have a little trouble getting big SVODs like HBO Max to play along with their respective "channels" strategies.
We here at Next TV (OK, it’s really just me here!) were fascinated by Hulse’s media profile, which included splashy profiles of the entrepreneur in glitzy publications including Glamour Magazine UK, as well as abundant tabloid coverage of her 2017 wedding to British shipping magnate George Hulse, a man with royal bloodline.
Meanwhile, ScreenHits TV’s CrunchBase profile still indicates a £4.4 million seed investment from backers including London-based angel investor Rory Fleming.
So it had backing. But the tech seemed, at least at the time, like vaporware.
Initially, we couldn’t even access the ScreenHits TV beta. And a month later, when we did manage to access it, we couldn’t get it to work much.
A year later, the sprawling startup—which also lists Latin America in its streaming aggregation plans, along with Europe and North America—seems to have its business and technology acts a little more together, but still very, very far from being built out.
ScreenHits says its app is supported by iOS and Android mobile devices, Google Chromecast, as well as Amazon Fire TV and Roku HDMI sticks.
We searched for the ScreenHits TV app on a 2020 Roku-powered TCL smart TV, as well as Chromecast with Google TV device, but couldn’t locate it. (We don't own a Roku or Fire TV stick.) Likewise, the ScreenHits TV app didn’t surface in the Apple App Store via iOS on iPhone. The app appears to be supported for iPad and Mac, however.
We were able to access and use it via a Chrome browser on the open internet at screenhitstv.com. And it did work, surfacing content from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video Channels and Disney Plus, and taking us directly to those platforms upon selection of relevant content. (There doesn’t appear to be any playback or resale through those apps, at least not yet.)
Meanwhile, there seems to be some added heft on the ScreenHits business model side, with the announcement earlier this month of former Amazon Studios executive Joe Lewis, as well a ex-WarnerMedia and Disney EMEA distribution executive Humphrey Black, joining the ScreenHits TV board as advisors.
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