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Leesburg social tech company GoPop seeks to change how we talk about the tube

Eugene Evans is a co-founder of GoPop.tv the social app for people who love watching television and movies. - Times-Mirror/Rick Wasser
Eugene Evans decided to start watching “Mad Men,” the popular AMC television series, because a friend recommended the program.

He loves talking about television and noticed that most of his friends do as well.

"We watch because our friends are watching," he says.

GoPop.tv, the application he and two other co-founders have started, grew out of the understanding that people love to interact with what they're watching on television.

Last year more than 14 million tweets were sent during the Academy Awards exclusively about the Academy Awards. It also produced the most re-tweeted single post in Twitter history – Ellen DeGeneres
The previous record for most re-tweets was a photo of President Barack Obama during re-election.

This past Super Bowl Twitter feed reached 12,000 tweets per second for a total of more than 25 million.

The advantage those events had over a television series is that they were live events.

Evans explains that as the television industry has evolved, so has the way people watch their favorite programming.

Netflix and other On Demand services allow users to snack on shows whenever they want or binge on a whole series in one sitting.

Evans says that people want to talk about “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black,” two hit Netflix series, the same way they would the Super Bowl, but few are watching those shows at the same time.

"We don't tend to watch things because they are on the schedule, we watch them because friends tell us to," said Evans.

So the GoPop.tv application, available through the Apple store, allows readers to start running a track of commentary much like a Twitter feed each time they watch an episode of “Sherlock,” a popular BBC program.

As the show is running, commentary pops up from friends, relative to the action on the screen.

If a person dies in the last minute of a show, viewers won't get spoilers from friends who have previously watched the show.

This is important, Evans says, because a quick Twitter search for popular shows like “Game of Thrones” or “Breaking Bad” will simply be a long list of spoilers and disjointed commentary.

The inventors hope to eventually program the app to recognize a television show's sound and drop users directly into a live feed.

Evans is one of three co-founders of GoPop.tv. He takes office space in the Mason Enterprise Center in downtown Leesburg.

His resume is crowded with past start-up successes and corporate experience with Electronic Arts and Viacom.

In addition, co-founders Jonathan Small and Dave Marsh have more than 50 years of software and game development experience between them.

The team at GoPop.tv hope to monetize the idea through advertising.

Sites like Facebook and Google make boatloads of cash by being the go-to sites when people search for products and services they want to buy in that moment.

The crew at GoPop.tv is trying to do something slightly different. They're also trying to capture people while they're ready to buy – but maybe before they know they are ready to buy.

For example, he imagines a scenario where viewers would be provided a link to buy a t-shirt a character is wearing in their favorite series.

Evans mentioned Sheldon, a popular nerdy character on the TV show “Big Bang Theory,” known for having fun novelty t-shirts, as an example.

A pop up in the feed would provide a relevant Amazon link and a message that might say, "Buy the t-shirt Sheldon's wearing."

GoPop.tv is however not without major obstacles. In order for the platform to grow it will have to attract millions of passionate television and film fans.

Money will also be an issue. GoPop.tv is currently backed by a number of angel investors, according to Evans.

The start-up also recently won second place at the innovate LoCo event sponsored by the Department of Economic Development and the Mason Enterprise Center at Fishbowl Labs on the AOL campus in Dulles.

GoPop.tv will also present today at the TechBUZZ event at Fishbowl Labs in Dulles.


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