Archive for the ‘ashton kutcher’ tag
Ashton Kutcher is the most influential tech investor on Twitter with Guy Kawasaki and Richard Branson rounding out the top three, according to new research from PeekAnalytics.
The PeekAnalytics report “Top 1,000 Tech Investors on Twitter” lists all kinds of investors across the spectrum and ranks them by influence. PeekAnalytics is a relatively new product from New York-based PeekYou, which has attracted $1.9 million in funding and measures social influence across networks, provides a free people search, and helps companies measure social graph data. PeekYou CEO Michael Hussey told us that there was a large demand for profiling top social influencers.
The product competes with Klout, which also measures social influence. But unlike Klout’s engagement rankings, PeekAnalytics’ rankings derive from “the quality of your audience,” Hussey said. If you multiply the amount of followers someone has by the amount of people in the followers’ networks, you get a “pull quotient,” by which you can rank audience quality.
Kutcher, for example, has more than 11 million followers. Those followers have an average network size of 404 across more than 60 social networks. Just under him is Guy Kawasaki, who has about 1 million followers with an average network size of 2,856. “Guy has a tenth of the followers of Ashton, but his followers have a larger network,” Hussey said.
But enough about that. Here are the rankings:
1. Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) — A-Grade Investments
2. Guy Kawaskai (@GuyKawasaki) — Garage Technology Ventures
3. Richard Branson (@richardbranson) — Virgin Investments
4. Jack Dorsey (@jack) — Angel
5. Evan Williams (@ev) — Obvious Corp.
6. Biz Stone (@biz) — Obvious Corp.
7. Jonah Lupton (@JonahLupton) — Parabolic Ventures
8. Al Gore (@algore) — Generation Investment
9. Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) — Angel
10. Kevin Rose (@kevinrose) — Google Ventures
11. Mark Cuban (@mcuban) — Angel
12. Jeff Pulver (@jeffpulver) — Hafooch Investments
13. Jason Calacanis (@jason) — LAUNCH
14. Chris Sacca (@Sacca) — Lowercase Capital
15. Om Malik (@om) — True Ventures
16. Tim Ferriss (@tferriss) — Angel
17. Bill Liao (@liaonet) — SOSventures
18. Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) — Union Square Ventures
19. Eric Schmidt (@ericschmidt) — TomorrowVentures
20. Dick Costolo (@Dickc) — Angel
21. Richard Simmonds (@RichSimmondsZA) — Angel
22. Steve Case (@stevecase) — Revolution
23. Anil Dash (@anildash) — Angel
24. Padmasree Warrior (@padmasree) — Angel
25. Peter Shankman (@petershankman) — Angel
26. Mark Bailey (@VentureOutlook) — Draper Fisher Jurvetson
27. Michael Arrington (@arrington) — CrunchFund
28. Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) — Angel
29. Marissa Mayer (@marissamayer) — Angel
30. Dave Morin (@davemorin) — Angel
For more detail on the Top 30 rankings, click the image below:
Ashton Kutcher photo: TechCrunch/Flickr
Filed under: social
Getaround, the car-sharing marketplace that makes it dead easy to take a spin in a stranger’s car, has pulled in $13.9 million in first round funding from an all-star cast of investors: Menlo Ventures’ Shervin Pishevar, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, actor Ashton Kutcher, and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.
“Our investors want to disrupt transportation as much as we do,” said company co-founder Jessica Scorpio (pictured above). “There are way too many cars on the planet.”
Scorpio told me she was first approached by Mayer, who invests in about five or six companies a year, at TechCrunch Disrupt, where the company launched last year. This is Mayer’s first investment since joining Yahoo as CEO and follows recent investments in Airtime and Square.
San Francisco-based Getaround was founded in 2009 and has grown quickly in recent years, expanding to new cities and signing up over 10,000 car owners across the country. Scorpio told me the startup recently eclipsed rival Zipcar, which currently owns about 8,000 cars. International expansion is in the cards, but the company remains focused on the U.S. market.
Scorpio told me it was the hardware that sold Mayer on the concept. Once installed, the Getaround CarKit allows cars to be unlocked via a smartphone. This is the key differentiator, as it takes the pain out of the hand-off process between renter and owner. Although Scorpio said she views the main obstacle as car ownership, Getaround faces competition from Zipcar, Zimride, Car2Go, and Relayrides, as well as a host of newcomers in the hot car-sharing space.
Scorpio told me the company plans to use the funds to expand into new cities beyond San Francisco, Portland, Austin, and San Diego and to forge partnerships with key players, such as car dealers and auto-makers.
The company may also search for new ways to monetize; it currently makes money by charging the car owner a 40 percent commission. This may seems high, but it’s a better alternative to leaving your car in a lot to slowly gather dust.
Funding aside, since Getaround’s inception, Scorpio told me she had a niggling use-case in mind, one that she hasn’t been able to let go. ”A lot of people have approached us and said they would like to share their car on Getaround but couldn’t manage it themselves,” she said.
So today, Getaround also launches a product in beta called Getaway. Getaway is a new service for car owners who want to rent their car on a full-time basis. It’s an ideal option for college students, backpackers, or business travelers don’t want to sell their car or shoulder the cost of storing it.
Getaway is currently only available in San Francisco and Chicago.
On Getaway, car owners are guaranteed $1000 a month, or Getaround will make up the difference. The guidelines for Getaway cars remain about the same: the company will only accept automatics that are under-five-years old, and have accumulated less than 100,000 miles.
To ensure your car won’t be in the wrong hands, Getaround will deliver a monthly report detailing where the car has been driven and the milage. If there’s a special request (for instance, you only want to rent to an urban driver), the company’s support team is willing to negotiate.
Scorpio told me that competitors in the ride sharing space are sprouting up fast and furious, a direct result in renewed interest in the collaborative consumption space. “When we started the company, the sharing economy didn’t exist so we knew we had to change people’s mindset,” she said.
Scorpio credits social networks with improving transparency and mitigating risk for the owner. Strangers will trust each other with their most intimate possessions – their cars and homes — knowing through Facebook and LinkedIn that they are only 2 or 3 degrees of separation away.
The round is led by Menlo Ventures’s Shervin Pishevar, who will join the company’s board. This is the largest round since the raised $3.4 million in September, 2011.
For many, the appeal of realtime, local commerce platforms like Zaarly is evident almost immediately. For those unfamiliar, the mobile-centric reverse craigslist allows users to post requests to Zaarly’s app — for anything from data entry to a fancy Starbucks mocha frappuccino and how much you would be willing to pay for it. Then users can kick back and wait for their coffee to arrive — or so the idea goes. It’s a great idea, and it works. For a good example, look no further than Greg’s experience.
The initial concept immediately caught the attention of Ashton Kutcher, Felicis Ventures, Paul Buchheit, Bill Lee and Naval Ravikant — to name a few — who put $1 million into Zaarly less than a month after it appeared at LA Startup Weekend.
As appealing as the idea is, however, I must admit that, personally, I was skeptical at first. What about trust? Wouldn’t people just prefer using TaskRabbit and craigslist? How would it scale? The team launched Zaarly 2.0 in March, which began to address the trust issue in particular, removing the anonymity component, allowing users to create profiles along with the opportunity to recommend and review both buyers and sellers.
Of course, Zaarly’s initial model leaves it up to users to discover the app themselves, or by word of mouth, which means that, development-wise, the Zaarly experience is somewhat limited. But, today, the startup took a big step forward in its evolution, launching its “Zaarly Anywhere” API, which boasts seven top content publishers as launch partners, including Everyday Health, The Fancy, LA Times, Cookstr and IKEA Hackers.
As Paul Graham has noted, APIs have become increasingly popular among startups as a tool that enables “self-serve” — or instant — “business development.” Thousands have caught onto this, as have some of the alternative craigslist marketplaces. TaskRabbit, for example, launched an API in February that allowed third-party apps to integrate with the startup’s API to allow their users to outsource their to-do workflows.
Astrid and Producteev were among two early startups to sign on, enabling their users to outsource tasks directly from their apps or portals to the TaskRabbit community with one click. Facebook has grown to a behemoth for myriad reasons, but one of the bigger contributing factors was Facebook Connect and its “Like” button, which worked Facebook into third-party apps and into the fabric of the Web, allowing businesses and sites to port their social graphs and login to various sites using their Facebook info.
Zaarly Anywhere is a natural next-step for the service, borrowing from these previous examples to help expose the service to new users and extend its functionality beyond its native app. Now, through Zaarly integration, visitors can, say, post a request in the Zaarly marketplace and have their requests responded to with a click of a button without having to leave the site they were browsing.
Zaarly co-founder and CEO Bo Fishback also sees the startup’s new API as creating a new revenue stream for its publishing partners by offering them another way to connect their online content with offline commerce.
While its launch partners include impressive names (and user bases), the scope is still somewhat small. But eventually, at least so their thinking goes, you could be browsing any type of online content — like, for example, a review of a new video game. You might check Amazon or other sites to find that it’s not available, but integration with Zaarly’s marketplace allows you to put up a figure to be able to buy or rent the game immediately.
Fishback believes that, in this way, Zaarly can help build a new type of commerce, or at least a new way to buy local. Read about a delicious dinner on a Cookstr, and immediately be able to connect with the Zaarly marketplace to ask a local chef to make it happen. It’s a potentially appealing option for publishers who, with shrinking ad revenues and bottom lines, are nearly all looking for better, non-intrusive yet effective ways to monetize content and increase engagement.
It’s a great way to begin building the Zaarly experience into other websites and through partner channels, leveraging the open web to create dedicated services that encourage people to spend money in their local communities (while creating additional revenue streams). For publishers, Everyday Health’s David Siegel, for example, calls this a great way to pair “inspiration with action.”
But how does it work? While on partner sites, users create Zaarly requests by clicking a button that will be integrated into content, like articles, social media buttons, and photos. The Zaarly API then populates the request with the title, description and location details from the partner’s site, enabling people to receive offers from users in their own community, who can choose the best response and pay through Zaarly’s platform.
Fishback says that the startup’s initial partners fall in line with the most active requests they’ve seen to date in the Zaarly marketplace, namely food, health, wellness, design and home improvement. Going forward, the startup will be looking to incorporate additional partners fast and furiously, while it continues to maintain its open marketplace, which has seen more than $30 million in requests posted since launching in May of last year.
It also represents a positive step forward towards future monetization for Zaarly, which is currently resting on laurels that include a $14.1 million series A raise from Kleiner Perkins, Sands Capital Ventures in October (on top of its initial $1 million), as well as the addition of HP CEO (and former eBay CEO) Meg Whitman to its board of directors.
Zaarly Anywhere opens the startup to a customized experience within dedicated platforms without pushing purchasing or sales in a way that would make most consumers balk. It just gives readers and surfers an opportunity to make the content they enjoy come to life while supporting the kind of skilled, local labor that can help make that happen. Could be a win-win.
There’s been a race on over the last year among mobile video sharing apps, many of which have sought to replicate the same type of success that Instagram had with photo sharing. We’ve seen a number of startups — like Socialcam, Viddy, and Klip — trying to attract new users by providing a platform for shooting interesting videos and then sharing them out to other social networks. Well, it’s not the same billion dollars that Facebook paid for Instagram, but Socialcam is one of the first to see an exit, as the app and team were just acquired by software company Autodesk for $60 million.
The Socialcam app launched about 18 months ago, then as part of live streaming startup Justin.tv. Then, last August, it spun out from the larger organization, taking CEO Mike Seibel with it and operating as an independent startup with just a handful of employees. Over the past year, the lean team has continued to iterate on the product, first adding Instagam-like filters, and later giving users the ability to add themes and soundtracks to their videos.
Despite fast growth, Socialcam entered the Y Combinator startup accelerator earlier this year. It was actually Seibel’s second time through the program, as he had previously participated with Justin.tv. Not long after Demo Day, it raised a seed round of funding from a group of angels that included Tim Draper, Yuri Milner, Ari Emmanuel, Laurene Powell Jobs, Ashton Kutcher, Brian Chesky, Paul Buchheit, Alexis Ohanian, among others.
By all accounts, Socialcam is one of the leaders in the nascent mobile video sharing category, it’s growing fast, and with just four employees, it was operating pretty efficiently. So why sell out now, with a huge market opportunity ahead?
Well, to hear Seibel tell it, the acquisition will ultimately will provide more freedom and flexibility to go after mobile video users. Socialcam will operate out of the consumer products group of Autodesk, with Seibel reporting to Consumer Group VP Samir Hanna.
Socialcam will continue to operate independently, it will have its own office, and it’ll hire a few more people — although Seibel says he plans to keep the team pretty lean. In other words, the acquisition will still allow the team to develop the product, but it will have more working capital and corporate backing to accelerate growth.
Autodesk is best known for its design, engineering, and 3-D rendering software. It plans to help the Socialcam team scale up their platform and integrate some video tools into its apps. “We’ll take the best of what the pros have and be able to bring those tools to everyday people,” Seibel told me via phone. Autodesk also sees an opportunity to pitch the Socialcam application to some of its entertainment clients as a way to better engage with their viewers and customers.
For Autodesk, the acquisition continues a string of seemingly random purchases by its Consumer Products Group. Last Summer the company acquired photo editing and sharing service Pixlr, and followed that up a month later with the purchase of popular DIY community Instructables. Hanna said that the Socialcam buy will help it in the consumer video creation and sharing space, where it currently lacks a foothold.
With Socialcam going to Autodesk, Viddy will likely be the largest independent mobile video sharing app out there. It recently raised $30 million from NEA, Goldman Sachs, Khosla Ventures, and Battery Ventures. There are others, like Klip and Mobli, but they haven’t reached the critical mass that the Socialcam and Viddy have.
The big question is if it’s even fair to make the analogy of “Instagram for video.” There was a pretty big hype cycle when Instagram was bought for like, a billion dollars, but lately expectations for a similar outcome have cooled. Video’s not like photos, Seibel admits, but there isn’t the same type of instant gratification when sharing. Perhaps more importantly, people aren’t yet used to videography, and there’s a considerable learning curve to making video look good — you can’t just add a filter and call it a day. Even still, there are plenty more players who are willing to give it a go and chase that dream.
Brewster’s Address Book App Briefly Exposes Ashton Kutcher’s & Others’ Private Data; Company Says It’s Fixed
Brewster, the hot, new personalized address book app for iPhone, launched to much fanfare this week. But it also launched with a concerning bug. Some users reported they had the ability to see the personal contact information for people they shouldn’t have had access to, including the likes of one Mr. Ashton Kutcher, for example.
His wasn’t the only private contact information exposed, from what we’ve seen. Other high-profile people whose personal information was available included TechCrunch contributor MG Siegler, Path co-founder Dave Morin, Foursquare’s former Director of Business Development Tristan Walker, Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai, and more.
One Brewster user who discovered the problem was Marshall Haas, the co-founder and CEO of Obsorb.com. He tweeted about his discovery last night, and we reached out to him to confirm the issue was occurring. He sent over several screenshots as proof of the bug’s existence, which did indeed confirm that he was able to see things he should not, including email addresses and phone numbers. We’ve posted a couple here, with the personal information redacted.
Haas did the right thing, however, and notified the company of the issue, which is reportedly now resolved. I spoke with founder Steve Greenwood about the problem this morning, to confirm that it had been fixed. (If everyone could see Ashton’s and others’ private info, I would not publish this!).
Greenwood says that when the company was notified of Haas’s issue, they spoke with him and Haas was, by that point, unable to re-create the problem. “What was going on, as you can imagine, with a first day release,” explains Greenwood, “there were a bunch of things going well, and there were a bunch of things where we had bugs. We were deploying all day yesterday and into the night. And, as best as we can ascertain, there was an issue [Haas] had with Ashton’s information that must have been resolved by the deploys into production that we had done,” says Greenwood. “But that being said, we then went and looked everywhere, to see if this was anywhere else and we could not find any occassion of this issue.”
Greenwood continues, “there were bugs we had yesterday, this was one we took very seriously. We must have fixed it.” So, in other words, a one-off. But a bad one. And yes, it does appeared to be fixed at present.
But the issue highlights the potential privacy concerns of any “address book” replacement mobile application, and the very real risk that comes along with giving an app of any sort permission to access your iPhone’s contacts list. This is the same sort of concern that was blown out of proportion somewhat during Path’s “address book-gate,” for example. But it’s also why the crackdowns on the mobile app industry from government regulators are being taken seriously – and why they should be.
However, in this case, even tougher regulations couldn’t have helped the purported victims here – there were a ton of new users uploading their contact lists to the service. The victims themselves may have never even installed the app and shared their personal details.
We should also point out that it’s not just a new app’s bug that could leave you over-exposed, if however briefly. There’s also a general lack of understanding on the part of consumers as to whether the information you’re sharing with third parties is public or private.
“We’ve noticed there’s been some confusion over what you get access to over a third-party service when you’re connected with them, whether it’s an email, phone number or something like that,” explains Greenwood regarding other more general complaints. “We’ve also noticed around photos, there are public profile photos among certain services that have privacy settings that users select on that third-party service.”
User confusion is a problem that location-based “friend finders” like Highlight and Banjo face today. In Banjo’s case, for example, it’s able to locate people based on details they don’t even know they’re sharing – like geo-tagged tweets, for example, or Instagram uploads.
Still, let’s not throw out the baby with have the bathwater here. Brewster may have had a bug, Banjo may seem a bit creepy, Path may uploaded personal data without users’ permission. Yes, it’s all so very scary, right? But at the end of the day, the startups behind these apps are building tools and services that improve our lives, if we’re willing to give them enough breathing room to work out the kinks.
The cast of the upcoming “jOBS” indie biopic, which has already started principle photography, is filling out as Kevin Dunn, J.K. Simmons and four more sign on to play co-starring roles opposite Ashton Kutcher’s portrayal of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Salon Booking Service StyleSeat Launches Offers Platform To Pull Stylists Away From Daily Deal Sites
StyleSeat, the “OpenTable for hair stylists” backed by Founders Fund, 500 Startups, Ashton Kutcher, and others (including a who’s who of angel investors), is today launching a service called “New Client Offers.” The platform allows salons to reach out to potential new clients by offering discounts or extra services redeemable upon their first visit. The offers will be available in the company’s online marketplace where customers can also browse area salons, search for professionals based on location, speciality or price, read reviews, view photos of the stylist’s work, and then book their appointments directly.
“We did a lot of thinking and research to understand what’s the best way to help grow the businesses of these salons,” says co-founder and CEO Melody McCloskey of the new platform. “We found that the only way a lot of the industry gets the customer in the door is through the daily deal model,” she says, “and there’s a lot of flaws in that model.”
The offers platform is a twist on daily deals, which McCloskey believes is not sustainable for salons, or good for salon customers, either. With daily deals, salons are giving up around 75% of their service price, she says. Plus, they get overwhelmed by a large number of clients, and generally only see a 20% return rate on the clients who came in because of a daily deal. Customers, meanwhile, only get access to the salons offering the “cheap” deals, which doesn’t always mean the better salons. And, she adds, StyleSeat also offers a “more authentic experience” because stylists write about their services in their own words and post photos of their actual work.
With StyleSeat’s new platform, however, professionals will be able to book as many or few deals as they like and they also have the option to offer free services instead of a price cut – something which doesn’t affect their bottom line quite as much. On the backend, StyleSeat’s platform lets salons track statistics surrounding their revenue and the ROI on the deals themselves. They also get access to the customer’s name, email and phone number (for reminders), which is all stored in StyleSeat. The offers will appear like ads on the search results pages and on the profile pages. (See screenshots, above and below).
StyleSeat has marketed itself as a freemium service in the past, but it has actually been 100% free until today. This is the first time it’s monetizing – by taking a 30% cut on the new client offers, which less than the typical daily deal site would take. “We want to be generous about the feature set we have on our platform,” says McCloskey. “Our philosophy is that we want to give you a platform to run your business for free, but when you want to grow you’re business, we’ll take a cut of that.”
She also says that new client offers are the “first of a lot of products” that are in the pipeline. Other products launching soon will focus more on developing a more robust CRM system, with respect to bringing existing clients back to the salon, for example.
Launched in May 2011, StyleSeat has over 55,000 salons and spas onboard, which is up from the 40,000 it reported back in March. It has also booked 800,000 appointments since its launch at TechCrunch Disrupt in May 2011. Stylists can sign up here.
Here’s another chance for one lucky reader to win tickets to this year’s Disrupt in SF! Congratulations to last week’s winner, Stephen Hsu. Last week, we asked everyone to let us know who they would like to see at Disrupt SF. The comments were tallied and Mark Zuckerberg was the chosen one. Our people have reached out to his people. We’ll let you know.
Want to come this year? All you have to do is follow the steps below!
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- Retweet this post (making sure to include the #TCDisrupt hashtag)
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The contest starts now and ends June 24th at 7:30pm PT. Please only tweet the message once or you will be disqualified. We will make sure you follow the steps above and choose our winner once the giveaway is over. Anyone in the world is eligible. Please note this giveaway is for one ticket only and does not include airfare or hotel.
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Last year, we introduced you to MemSQL, a plucky young Y Combinator alum that was building technology that would let developers give their databases a Nitrous boost, while simplifying application development and maintenance. Founded by ex-Facebookers Eric Frenkiel and Nikita Shamgunov, MemSQL raised $2.1 million in seed funding last July from an impressive roster of investors, before going silent to plug away at their private beta.
After a year of development, MemSQL is officially ready for primetime. Today, the startup launches its next-gen database into the world, and it’s got some shiny new coin to go with its new product, bringing total investment to $5 million. As part of the follow-on seed funding, existing investors First Round Capital, SV Angel, Y Combinator, Paul Bucheit and Ashton Kutcher are joined by IA Ventures, Max Levchin, Aaron Levie and Data Collective — to name a few.
The startup intends to use its new capital to scale its infrastructure and take advantage of areas of the market where fast analysis of machine data is crucial, like financial services, digital advertising technology, and telecom and mobile services.
Those familiar with the space may wonder what makes MemSQL so special, out of the multiple VC-backed, already-been-around-for-awhile “newSQL” startups out there doin’ their thing. (Like Clustrix, GenieDB, VoltDB, RethinkDB, ScaleDB, JustOneDB, Tokutek, Akiban, CodeFutures, ScaleBase, etc.)
Well, because both Frenkiel and Shamgunov were previously database guys at Facebook, and they’ve taken some parts of FB’s approach and repurposed it for speed and flexibility — and a wider audience. It also helps that Shamgunov spent 6 years as a database engineer at Microsoft working on SQL, has several patents to his name, and is a world medalist in computing machinery contests. We’re still not really sure what that means, but it sounds impressive.
The co-founder’s Microsoft experience also helps MemSQL, because essentially what these guys are trying to do is offer a cheaper, works-for-everyone alternative to what the big players like Oracle and MSFT offer for the enterprise at a much higher price point.
But before going any further, for those unfamiliar, the “newSQL” movement is basically trying to build a better replacement for legacy SQL databases, like MySQL, which tend not to play so well with all these modern, newfangled web applications. They struggle to keep up with these data producers, when that, after all, is their job.
What’s more, big data is big and will only get bigger, and developers and companies need better ways to manage that data, control it, and get the most out of it. For companies that operate businesses on the Web, it’s imperative that when they get hit with a lot of traffic or once they move all their data etc. into the cloud (which can make for slower through-put thanks to bottlenecks) that they be able to fall back on memory storage to keep their apps or operations up and running. Big companies like Facebook and Twitter have the engineering resources to be able to do this efficiently, but most companies don’t.
MemSQL offers a database that is relational and distributed, and tweaks the way data is put into memory, with the right structures and access patterns, so that apps can functionally use SQL at scale without having to use Memcached or NoSQL.
For those who just fell asleep, basically that means less engineering overhead — less work for developers. This is ideal, Frenkiel says, for apps that need to process machine data at hyper speed, as MemSQL claims to be able to increase an app’s through-put (and ability to retrieve actionable insight) by 30x while still offering SQL and flexibility.
“Quickly sifting through actionable data has become a competitive advantage in the enterprise, particularly as organizations are saddled with increasingly large and complex data sets,” Frenkiel says. “MemSQL was designed to tackle Big Data problems by accelerating an application’s throughput while still offering SQL, unlike other solutions which tend to either be too slow or too limited in functionality.”
MemSQL at home here and product demo below:
So you wondered how Zynga was gonna make money off its $210 million acquisition of OMGPOP? How about this: Hit game title Draw Something will soon be at the center of a new primetime game show, according to a report by Variety. The show’s pilot, which was picked up by CBS after an apparent bidding war, will be produced by Sony Pictures Television, Ryan Seacrest Productions, and Embassy Row.
The pilot concept will reportedly pit multiple celebrities and users against each other in front of a studio audience, translating a game most people play in their spare time while commuting or before bed into a hilarious new game show. Viewers at home will also be able to play along with the folks on TV, according to Variety.
Draw Something was the key piece of Zynga’s acquisition of OMGPOP earlier this year. But traffic has plummeted ever since the deal closed, leading some to question the wisdom of Zynga buying at what seems to be the game’s peak.
Putting Draw Something on TV, and letting users interact with the on-air players, is one way to resurrect interest in the game. That will also bring a social element to the TV show, and could help boost ratings as users interact with the program on their mobile phones and tablets.
Interestingly, CBS’ choice of shows — and the stars that appear on the network — suggest a strong affinity toward Silicon Valley. It picked up ill-fated comedy $#!% My Dad Says in 2010. And it aired a show called Friend Me, which apparently is about friends who work for Groupon. And how could we forget about the choice of Hollywood star and Valley investor Ashton Kutcher to replace Charlie Sheen on Two And A Half Men — a role which Kutcher used to promote various investments with startup stickers on his on-screen laptop.
Anyway, while the network has signed up for the pilot, it’s not clear how soon the show would arrive on air. Variety notes that CBS has a full fall lineup, although the game show could find its way to primetime mid-season if the network has some cancellations.