Even in an on-demand, time-shifted television world, viewers want to know when their favorite shows are on.
That’s where Stanza, a start-up tech company, comes in. Stanza, which was set up to make it easier for people to add and update items on their calendars, has added the fall TV schedule to its database, enabling viewers to click a button to keep track of when shows are on, when they go on hiatus and when they return.
Stanza, launched in 2012 as SpotOn.it, raised $4.3 million in seed funding and changed its name in April.
The company started off helping people keep track of college and pro sports team schedules, forming partnerships with the Denver Broncos, L.A. Clippers, Stanford University and others. It currently claims about 2 million users who have linked their calendars with close to 100 million events.
Smita Saxena, CEO of Stanza, says moving into TV was a natural extension.
Users can search a show like The Mindy Project and either click the button that adds it in their calendar and discovers it’s on Hulu, or they can get a list of episodes and when they will appear.
At this point, Stanza provides an alarm a half-hour before a show airs. But Saxena says the company is looking into ways to link with apps from providers and networks that will allow users to set DVRs or watch on their smartphone or other digital devices.
The company is also in talks with several networks, Saxena says. Networks could provide other content that people can engage with that could be accessed through the calendar entry.
Already, there are a couple of thousand TV users on Stanza. The shows added to the most calendars include The Walking Dead, Big Brother, Masterchef, America’s Got Talent, The Zoo and The League.
Stanza expects to make money by taking a cut when one of their users performs an operation such as downloading an app or linking to a website. A show’s sponsor could also appear on the show’s page on Stanza, Saxena says. Stanza is set up to provide partners with an analytic dashboard that displays who is engaging with shows and adding them to their calendars.
“Tuning in is the thing that matters,” Saxena says. If you’re moving the needle, you can expect to figure out a compensation model around that.”