Singapore’s largest television broadcaster MediaCorp has launched a new food recommendation app. However, it carries a striking resemblance to Burpple, a popular app created by a Singapore startup of the same name. Here’s a bunch of screenshots for reference:
8 Days Eat bears a similar pink hue along with identical user interface elements. Both serve up location-based food recommendations to users. But the similarities end there.
Burpple, aside from launching much earlier, crowdsources for content from its community of foodies.
The 8 Days Eat app, on the other hand, carries the legacy of the 8 Days brand name. It’s almost a digitization of the popular 8 Days showbiz and lifestyle magazine, and as such relies on food critics on its payroll for content. It has banner ads too.
For now, there’s no way I can snap pictures of a dish, apply filters, and share it with a community.
Other app users have noticed the resemblance, and their opinions are not favorable.
Bryan Choo, who gave it one out of five stars, calls the app a “pointless copycat”.
“A Burpple rip-off that adds little innovation of its own. Good luck competing in an already crowded space with HungryGoWhere, Burpple, Yelp, OpenEat and even Chope.”
It has, however, received some positive comments from people who know and trust the magazine’s food section. On Android, the app has between 5 to 10k active installs since launching on 6 August, with an average review score of four out of five stars.
Burpple co-founder Elisha Ong is unfazed. He sees it as validation for his startup.
“It doesn’t really matter. We’re focused on growing the community of real foodies on Burpple and continually serve useful and relevant content to be Asia’s leading social food guide,” he said.
We are contacting MediaCorp for comments.
The app is just the latest indication of the Group’s interest to expand beyond television and print, where it is dominant in. Its record has been spotty so far though. In-house attempts at daily deals and an e-bookstore have fallen short, and both have shut down.
It recently started a couple of new ventures. The first is stylexstyle, which combines an online magazine with a Birchbox clone and an e-commerce store. While it may yet succeed, MediaCorp’s traditional thinking and top-down management may prove to be its undoing.
The second is Toggle, an on-demand, multi-platform content delivery service that finds itself competing with the likes of mioTV, StarHub, iTunes, and not to mention the wide variety of free content that’s already available on the Internet.
MediaCorp has begun backing startup talent. It was involved in a USD 40M round in luxury fashion e-commerce venture Reebonz, funded online video firm Ooyala, and bought a majority stake in gaming site Cubinet.
It even launched an investment fund and incubator program dubbed “Mediapreneur”, which has Mediacorp senior executives as mentors.