We’ve all been there. Obsessively surfing through the channel guide looking for something good to watch, and you finally find something only to realize you’re just a bit too late. Instead of tuning into the game after the touchdown, imagine if you could easily tune-into the most exciting moments on live television as they’re happening.

Enter Samba TV. The company has placed several hundred cable boxes in its data centers across different time zones throughout North America. Within those data centers, we have deployed sophisticated video fingerprinting software monitoring every TV channel in real time. We also monitor social media, connected devices and cable boxes, so we can rank in real-time the top trending shows at any moment.

Now you’ll know when the good stuff is happening, so you will never have to be late to the party again. Think of it as the ultimate TV guide, power-ranked by popularity. No more fear of missing out, and no more feeling left out of water cooler conversations at work.

This kind of real-time “operating system for TV” is also useful for TV advertisers often wondering whether they are getting a good ROI on their ads. They can use this same tool for more intelligence, to better quantify how many people are exposed to their messages. We can also help them amplify TV messages in other screens without relying on the audience to tweet, like or use a hashtag.

Advertisers realize the foundation of the TV advertising industry is cracking. It’s no secret that most people:

* have a DVR to skip commercials

* stream video to tablets and PCs with Netflix, which has no commercials

* watch TV with another screen open, as a diversion from commercial breaks

We are working with leading brands and agencies to turn multiscreen viewership into an asset, not a liability. According to our friend Charlie Fiordalis, a managing director at Media Storm, “We have seen marked improvement in brand recall and intent when we use all screens in sync across mobile, tablet and desktop. With Samba’s technology, we can include linear television in that strategy, making Samba’s technology an exciting, powerful and innovative platform for brand advertising.”

Another friend of ours, Maile Krauss heads up client growth at Ansible, a cross-IPG agency that works with many mobile clients. She said, “TV context matters to our clients and Samba TV provides a unique opportunity for brands to extend the power of TV to digital, specifically to Mobile and Tablet devices to capitalize on multi-screen use. There’s a lot of interest around ‘TV data’ in the industry, and Samba TV offers an innovative technology that truly matches live TV viewership with digital media activity.”

In 2013, national and local TV advertising generated $75 billion in revenue, outstripping digital advertising budgets by a factor of more than 2:1. But the backbone and currency for national TV advertising is the Nielsen ratings point, calculated from meters within 22,000 American households. Local advertising is traded based on the activities of an enigmatic group of people who literally watch TV and jot down everything they watch in paper diaries which are then sent to Nielsen four times per year. Nielsen’s “sweeps” come out quarterly and dictate which percentage of the advertising budget a station gets. They also often decide the fate of TV shows, which can be cancelled for lack of popularity within the panel.

Dan Suratt, EVP, Digital Media at A+E Networks®, had this to say about Samba TV, “We strive to be more connected and responsive to our audience. With live viewership insights from Samba we can actually inform our producers and sponsors how best to leverage the linear broadcast platform through real-time viewing feedback.  Moreover, Samba offers a level of accuracy when dealing with smaller audience bases not achievable with other measurement alternatives.”

Samba TV was founded in 2008 by Ashwin Navin, former COO and co-founder of BitTorrent, with several of his team members from BitTorrent, including David Harrison, Omar Zennadi, Todd Johnson and Alvir Navin. Media disruption is something this team understands. Navin is known for his ability to cement deals with media companies, including BitTorrent’s settlements with movie studios and record labels. He also fought Comcast and prevailed in the country’s first test of net neutrality.

The company raised $8.5 million in Series A funding in January 2012 from August Capital, Mark Cuban, Gary Lauder, Richard Yoo, James Hong, Thomas McInerney and others. Samba TV expects to announce its next round of funding in the next 6 months.