TVGuide.com operator buys stake in BuddyTV

TVGuide.com operator buys stake in BuddyTV

$2.8 million to help build online groups

By JOHN COOK, -I REPORTER
July 30, 2007 8:52 p.m. PT

BuddyTV has raised $2.8 million in funding in
a deal led by Gemstar-TV Guide International, the operator of
TVGuide.com, JumptheShark.com and other TV-oriented Web sites.

BuddyTV co-founder Andy Liu said the startup — with just under 20
employees and more than 3 million unique visitors a month — received a
lot of interest during the financing round. In addition to Gemstar,
Seattle-area angel investors Geoff Entress (a principal at Madrona
Venture Group) and John Cunningham (a board member at InfoSpace) also
participated.

Liu said the Seattle company is sharing links with TVGuide.com, with more content deals to occur.

Gemstar, which has taken a minority stake, "can benefit us on a lot
of levels," Liu said. Earlier this year, the startup received $250,000
from the Charles River Quick Start Seed Funding Program.

BuddyTV was founded by Liu and David Niu, who both have MBAs from
the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. They sold their
previous company, NetConversions, to aQuantive in 2004. BuddyTV builds
online communities around popular television shows and sporting events.
Liu said the company covers about 410 shows. It also provides content
to Seattlepi.com.

Television Without Pity, a competitor to BuddyTV, was sold earlier
this year to NBC’s Bravo in a deal of undisclosed size. And although
large TV networks also are trying to build online communities around
their shows, Liu said many also are interested in partnering with
BuddyTV because of the breadth of its offering. As the "largest
independent TV fan site," Liu said, the company can drive a lot of buzz
for shows.

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