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View2Gether Raises First Round For Online Video 'Lounges'

This story was written by Tameka Kee.
Social viewing platform View2Gether has picked up an undisclosed amount of first round funding. The group of private investors include former *CBS* Entertainment head Jeff Sagansky (who serves as the startup's Chairman), and a trio of entertainment industry vets: Michael Kantor, Bruno Charlesworth and Steve Castan.

L.A.-based View2Gether lets users create virtual lounges to watch, share and customize online video. The idea is that social viewing keeps people more engaged with the content, which, in theory, means they're less likely to turn away when ads show up. Users can watch clips on the site itself, but the startup also offers a white-label social viewing platform. It partnered with CBS Interactive (NYSE: CBS) to launch entertainment site adikted.tv in Australia, powers viewing parties for ABC Family's show GREEK, and says it recently signed a universal licensing deal with Sony (NYSE: SNE).

More media companies are turning to platforms like View2Gether to grow (and monetize) communities around their content. Video app-maker SplashCash, for example, has deals with Hulu and Sony BMG that let social network users stream shows directly in their profiles. SplashCast recently added a feature that pulls in status updates Twitter-style, so users can "chat" while they watch clips together. The startup told TechCrunch that average viewing times increased by 50 percent as a result; it can even run ads in the chat stream. Release.


By Tameka Kee

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