On Monday, the “social media aggregator” TIOTI — which stands for “Tape It Off The Internet” — came out of beta and launched to the general public. It claims to offer a “one-stop source for TV content” online, aggregating the video content it finds across the Internet, and combining it with social networking tools allowing users to recommend shows, discuss and see what their friends are watching, and create groups to build communities around TV shows.
A popular feature is the Friends and Episodes tracker, which lets users see where they’re up to in a particular show, and how much their friends have watched.
TIOTI already claims 75,000 TV shows with over 500,000 episodes in their content, a number which is continually increasing.
What isn’t immediately clear is the legality of all of this. TIOTI don’t appear to be hosting many of the clips themselves, they’re merely aggregating the content and would probably argue they’re providing a similar service to a search engine. However, while the social networking aspects of the site might be safe, I can see some content owners taking a dim view of a service which encourages users to view unauthorised clips. Having said that, most users are just going to visit YouTube to find shows they want to watch anyway.
Paul Cleghorn, TIOTI’s UK co-founder said, “TIOTI.com acts as an aggregator of online TV content and a social network for user-generated content about TV shows, so we are very excited at being able to open up www.tioti.com for general consumption at a time when major TV players are starting to make their content widely available on the Web.”