Multi-screen video app platform You.i TV has raised a $12 million Series B round, led by Time Warner Investments and including new investor Vistara Capital Partners and existing investor Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors. Funds will be used for product development and channel partner development. You.i TV includes among its customers Sony Crackle, Turner Broadcasting, Rogers Communications and Corus Entertainment.
With the proliferation of video services and connected/mobile devices, viewing behavior has been steadily migrating from linear to app-based consumption (see last week’s podcast for more). Viewers have ever-higher expectations of apps, putting pressure on content providers to quickly deliver superb experiences.
But as You.i TV’s CEO Jason Flick describes in a blog post today, the video app development process remains sub-optimal. One option is templated apps that allow quick rollouts, but offer minimal user interfaces. On the other end are custom apps which are both expensive and slow to market.
Addressing this challenge is the You.i Engine which is distinguished by maintaining one codebase, driving apps across all platforms. The streamlined workflow means that updates can be reflected in deployed apps in as little as 5 minutes, as compared to weeks for other app development processes. Considering all of the different platforms apps now need to run on to be ubiquitous, these are major cost-saving and viewer experience benefits.
Jason notes in his post that Turner has begun to standardize OTT app development on the You.i Engine, including its upcoming direct-to-consumer FlimStruck app.
To achieve greater scale, You.i TV has been building out a services partner program, enabling agencies to use the You.i Engine to develop video apps for their clients. The new funding round will no doubt help to expand its roster of partners. With viewing continuing to shift toward apps, You.i TV looks well-positioned to benefit.