While the quantity and quality of mobile apps keeps expanding, there's one corner of the ecosystem that has lagged: high-quality video apps. Once you get beyond apps like HBO Go, Netflix, WatchESPN, Hulu Plus, Xfinity and a handful of others, the choice and quality drops off pretty quickly. That's because great video apps are expensive to build and to maintain, especially since the number of mobile device platforms keeps multiplying.
This is the problem that Beachfront Media, which has built the video aggregator MeFeedia, is trying to solve with a new mobile video app development platform it announced called Beachfront Builder, which launches in private beta next Thursday. With Beachfront Builder, content providers are able to quickly build video apps for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire, with others coming soon.
Categories: Mobile Video
Another update from the chaotic video search and navigation space; Mefeedia, which has been flown below the radar, has quietly grown to 5 million unique visitors per month since its re-launch in January, 2007. I spoke to CEO/founder Frank Sinton yesterday to learn more.
Frank explained that Mefeedia hasn't focused on having the largest video index (its index contains around 12 million videos, compared to blinkx's and Truveo's 120 million+). Instead it has emphasized higher-quality, ongoing "shows," which it makes available as feeds to its users - hence the name Mefeedia. The company search from 15,000+ video sources.
Frank believes that the company's secret sauce to maintaining quality is its proprietary video crawler, which is modeled on Google's PageRank system. Mefeedia's algorithm looks at social ranking factors including embedding patterns, links and usage to build the index. This contrasts with others' approaches which look inside the video itself and/or search metadata.
Frank thinks that with 50K-100K new videos uploaded each day, Mefeedia's approach is more scalable. My take is that Mefeedia is cleverly playing on the 80-20 rule - far more users will be interested in premium, well-known or well-organized content, rather than random YouTube clips. In fact, Frank said that fully a third of Mefeedia searches are "navigational," i.e. using specific terms like "Family Guy" rather than general terms like "Golf."
Meanwhile, another clever approach Mefeedia uses to maintain the quality bar and also engage users is enabling them to curate "channels" of interest within the site. This involves a user/enthusiast sifting through various feeds to assemble one master feed, which other users can subscribe to. There are hundreds of these channels, naturally ranging from the expected to the very Long Tail.
Like all search and navigation sites Mefeedia is free and ad-supported. Frank sees four types of ad implementations: keyword ads around search results (currently from AdSense), related sponsors for specific channels (e.g. Kraft for cooking channels), banners on the site, and pre-rolls. In this last category, Frank said that the company is starting to do biz dev deals with content providers whose video would get additional prominence in exchange for Mefeedia gaining the right to sell certain ad inventory.
Mefeedia's progress since its re-launch from its roots as a Vlog directory is impressive, especially considering it's a 5 person shop which has raised only $250K in angel funding. Having proved its appeal to users, Mefeedia's next challenge is to prove it can monetize its traffic.
PS - While we're on the topic of video search, blinkx pinged me to let me know that today they've launched their "blinkx Remote" beta which is a handy UI for quickly finding TV shows. You can see it here.
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Categories: Video Search