We recently had a chance to chat with Zach Nelson, the CEO of Skipr TV, and talk about their new service. Skipr TV allows you to skip ads on broadcast TV. Want to watch your favorite show live but hate ads? This service will automatically replace the ads with your favorite YouTube channel or let you read the latest news.
Here is our conversation with Zach Nelson:
Your site says that you play videos in place of ads. Where do these videos come from? YouTube? etc.?
“The videos you can watch during commercial breaks (we call them SkipClips™) will initially be sourced by YouTube as they have the largest library, but we may support Vimeo in the future. Part of the Skipr service is identifying suitable YouTube content that relates to various television shows. So for example, if you’re watching HGTV you may get a SkipClip™ on the topic of home improvement.” Said Zach Nelson CEO of Skipr.TV.
Can you tell me more about how Skipr TV works?
Skipr is a set of technologies comprised of Cloud Services and an Android application that runs on Android TV hardware (formerly Google TV). Our cloud services analyze television networks in realtime and identify commercial breaks which drives the Skipr application running on your television or set-top box. As a user, you can choose how you spend the time during commercial breaks.
For example, you might catch up on your social networks, read CordCuttersNews or Reddit, or watch YouTube clips related to your TV show. If you’re a sports fan and the game cuts to commercial, Skipr can take you to other action around the league and automatically bring you back to your game when its commercials end. Our channel guide is connected to our cloud services, so you can see which channels are at commercial before you tune them in, maybe you decide not to! We’re taking the channel guide to a whole new level. You’ll be able to customize the look and feel, and the channels and shows that appear, to suit your tastes. So everyone in the family can have their own customized Skipr channel guide, and parents can block questionable channels and programs if they choose to.
These are just a few examples of how Skipr works with live TV, but it also works with recorded content on your DVR. Skipr has the ability to sync with your DVR and fast-forward when it encounters a commercial break. For this to work, you simply synchronize the start of the first commercial and leave the rest to Skipr.
Is there a cost to your service? One time? Monthly? etc.?
Skipr will require a subscription, the price is still being worked out. However, we expect the subscription to be low, just a few dollars per month for all four broadcast channels (ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS). You may add the top cable channels as well for just a few dollars more. All said, we expect the Skipr subscription to be a fraction of your typical Netflix or Spotify subscription.”
The reason for the subscription model is three-fold. As I previously mentioned, Skipr analyzes network feeds in realtime in the Cloud, and it’s very resource-intensive. To do it properly and accurately is difficult. Second, as a consumer we would personally feel bad if a service did not live up to expectations, or if Skipr did not perform as expected 99.9% of the time. In order to deliver outstanding quality it takes additional resources, so we need to fund that – we want to delight our customers. Finally, I mentioned the Skipr channel guide – that data is provided by a partner that we have a licensing agreement with.
That said, we’re going to offer a no-cost version of Skipr. So if you have an Android TV, or you buy a set-top box and download the free Skipr Android application, then you’ll get some of the features mentioned above at no cost.
In our recent survey of the subscribers to /r/CordCutter 38% said they canceled cable because of commercials. So there is clearly a demand for a service like Skipr. Services like this could turn Android TV boxes into “must have” devices; catapulting them from 4th or 5th place to being a contender for one of the top 3 bestselling streaming boxes. Just as in gaming, where a killer game sells a system, an app like Skipr could be the “must have” killer app for Android TV.