Can Online TV Guide SetJam Pry Viewers From Their Clicker?


In the world of the consumer, competition is a great thing. In the world of the entrepreneur, competition can also be a great thing. In the world of the Internet start-up, however, competition is, without doubt, the snotty tissue filled with H1N1 virus that one takes great pains to avoid. Just ask Ryan Janssen, the founder of SetJam, an online viewing guide and search engine for TV shows.

Today, according to a post on its Facebook page, SetJam opens up its doors to 2,000 testers. And how do you think Ryan is feeling? Sick to the stomach? Tense, with a nervous headache? He'd probably merely be excited nervous if it weren't for what he describes as an "$8 million gorilla"—he's talking about Clicker, which describes itself as an online video search engine, and basically does the same thing as SetJam.

Clicker is headed up by former CEO Jim Lanzone, and has been given a high seven-figure funding from Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures. SetJam, on the other hand, got $100,000 about six months ago, half of which was put up by Ryan himself. As legendary soccer manager Sir Alex Ferguson would say, it's squeaky bum time.

clicker interface

Judging by some of the entries on his personal blog, Ryan is a kinda cool guy—not iceberg cool, but a normal guy. Slightly panicky. Mind going at a million miles an hour, but with an added sense of humor, and the self-awareness to know when he's giving his team too hard a time.

These were his four pointers for competing with the, as he sees it, over-manicured Clicker:

  1. Let the SetJam community build its own software.
  2. Evaluate the competition honestly.
  3. Know your partners.
  4. Live within your means.

A fifth one could be added: diss your rivals subtly when making a list about the competition, all the while telling your readers that they seem like nice guys.

The arrival of the $8-million gorilla means that Ryan's success or failure rests on one thing: getting SetJam running as quickly as possible to steal audience share from Clicker. At this point, it looks like David is a whisker in front of Goliath. But in the world of start-ups, anything can happen.

Fellow entrepreneurs, what would your advice be to Ryan? Tell us in the comments, please.

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  • Darren Mason

    Hey Ryan - I just stepped through the instant access offer below and in less than 10 seconds I had my access url and was watching an episode of my favorite show: Dexter. Regardless of what that might say about me, there is something to be said for a quick, clean, and SIMPLE interface. Best of luck in your endeavors!

  • Ryan Janssen

    "Slightly Panicky", huh? Well, given the second $50k was ALSO put in by me (after much discussion with my wife about our 2-year-old), I'm lucky to still be standing!

    Either way, I think SetJam fairs well on a side-by-side analysis with Clicker. If you're looking for short-form content like music videos and UGC stuff, Clicker's great. I think of it as YouTube with a very sexy make-over.

    When it comes to premium full-length TV shows and movies though, we've got over 10X as many, and I think our focus makes watching them a lot easier.

    No one should take my word for it though. We've created a Fast Company page that will give instant access to the first 500 people who sign up. I'd love to know what you and your readers think: