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Start-up Aims at Boosting TV Ratings

NEW YORK: A new outfit called “Simulmedia” has raised $4 million in first-round funding on the conceit that it can improve TV ratings. The company intends to collect, store and parse viewer data to improve promo strategies on TV.

“Television has an audience problem,” blogs founder Dave Morgan, “though not the same problem affecting most media platforms these days. Unlike newspapers, magazines and radio, the television viewing audience is actually growing.”

Morgan goes onto discuss audience fragmentation and the resulting growing frustration among advertisers. He says the 300-channel universe is not the only problem, but confusion as well.

“It is a navigation issue,” he writes. “Viewers are confused. They lack information. Old tools like TV Guide magazine, TV listings in newspapers, and ‘lead-in, lead-out’ programs, are largely obsolete and ineffective.”

He likens the use of electronic program guides to “trying to use computers in the pre-graphical user interface days. They’re not very user-friendly and only provide very ‘flat’ information.”

Morgan is assembling the Simulmedia team, Venture Beatreports. He previously founded Tacoda, which was sold to AOL for $275 million, and Real Media, bought by the WPP Group for $649 million. Both were divested in 2007. Simulmedia’s first round came from Avalon Ventures and Union Square Ventures. Former Weather Channel executive Bill Burke is on the board of directors.

A formal launch is expected later this year. – Deborah D. McAdams