In The Mix

Short Cuts

Start-up serves as compass for cord-cutters.

Daniel Frankel

When cord cutters leave the safe, curated space of their pay-TV operator, it’s easy to get lost.

Across the wilderness of live, linear channels, cable video-on-demand, subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix and Hulu, and transactional services like Google Play, iTunes and Vudu, how do they find their shows?

Enter, a free service available in 31 countries, which acts like a compass, pointing users toward content across live and on-demand sources.

Let’s say you just discovered AMC’s Better Call Saul while watching the latest episode at a friend’s house, and you want to binge to catch up. You might search Amazon, where the show is available for streaming at $2.99 per HD episode. But the first 20 episodes — seasons one and two — are already available at no extra charge on your Netflix account.

With a simple search, JustWatch will tell you all the places you can watch each episode. The platform also offers price comparisons for movies. Say you wanted to see Ridley Scott’s 2012 Alien prequel, Prometheus, before heading out to the multiplex to catch the latest installment in the franchise, Alien:Covenant.

JustWatch would tell you that Fandango had the best price on an HD rental, while Amazon and iTunes were offering the best deal on a purchase. It would also advise you if the movie was available on any of your subscription services — not only on Netflix, but also linear cable channels.

Over time, JustWatch gathers data on users, who receive suggestions of relevant shows and movies.

The company — self-backed with a $500,000 investment from the founders and about $2 million in loans — has some 40 employees in its Berlin headquarters, with offices also in Culver City, California.

It makes its money running “data-driven video advertising campaigns for clients around the world, to promote their movies starting in cinemas,” says spokesman David Croyé. Those clients, he adds, include Paramount and Fox.

At press time, JustWatch had approximately 10 million monthly users, but Croyé says some 60 million visitors have created user profiles. Those numbers are expected to grow. In the first quarter of 2017, pay-TV operators lost another 760,000 users in the U.S. alone.

These people still watch TV, and they’ll need directions.

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 7, 2017