Yahoo has acquired the fledgling IntoNow, a company with a mobile platform that functions much like interactive TV. IntoNow, which went live in January, recently inked its first advertising deal with Pepsi.
IntoNow has built a database that allows users to point an Apple mobile device -- an iPhone, iTouch or iPad -- at a TV screen and use the app to relay information about what they are watching to a Facebook page or Twitter feed. The system recognizes five years' worth of episodes across 130 networks.
The system -- based on audio signals -- also can be set up to recognize particular ads, which is powering the Pepsi deal. There, users that point when watching a particular Major League Baseball-themed spot can have a barcode beamed back to their devices. They can take it to a retailer and get a free Pepsi Max bottle.
That is similar to the request-for-information or RFI ads that are sparking interactive TV ad campaigns. There, viewers can use a remote control during a particular spot to click-through and order up a sample product or coupon to be sent to them.
Terms of the Yahoo acquisition were not disclosed.
IntoNow plans a three-pronged revenue model: generating dollars from the commercial tagging that Pepsi is using; placing advertising in the app that users need to operate it; and licensing its technology.
The IntoNow identification technology also works with respect to online video, which is likely to be helpful to Yahoo.
Yahoo Senior Vice President Bill Shaughnessy stated that technology offers opportunities "especially in regards to our video content, search, mobile and connected TV experiences."