TunedIn Becomes Latest Axel Springer Startup Acquisition

By David Knight |

Axel Springer has made its next big move into the German startup scene by acquiring social TV platform TunedIn. The second screen service aims to provide users with a more interactive TV viewing experience by discovering new shows and movies and engaging with each other.

Its purchase by the German media giant come shortly after Springer, whose publications include Bild and TV magazine Hörzu, bought a 49 percent stake in events company hy! Berlin. Springer has also sent three top executives to San Francisco as it ramps up its interest in the digital world with a third of its revenue already generated online.

TunedIn was founded by Justin Scull and Sebastian Bartz in New York in late 2010. Justin, the CEO, had the idea for the startup while watching American Idol in 2010 in which he felt that the lack of interaction was a big mistake. The focus of the company quickly shifted to Europe and specifically to Germany, Austria and Switzerland and TunedIn 2.0 was released last April.

The TunedIn team has hailed the Axel Springer deal as the best way for them to reach the next level in the competitive social TV space (where competition includes the likes of Tweek TV) by offering a vastly higher viewer reach, plenty of new media content and of course, ready-made platforms for keeping the platform in the public eye.

“The acquisition by Springer was the next logical step,” said COO Sebastian Bartz. “We’ve collaborated with the publishing house for many months now and have some amazing upcoming developments. Now, we truly have the ability to disrupt the industry.”

With the deal done, the TunedIn team say they will now step back and knuckle down to developing new ideas as influenced by user feedback.

Although many startup folk would consider the process lengthy, Axel Springer has been keen to push through negotiations in a manner which is unusually fast for such a large orgnisation, and it has shown in recent months that it means business in what could soon become a corporate scramble for startups.