New York based human-powered online video guide WeShow launched today.
WeShow is not the first site of its type, but it does launch with strong backing. Investors include The Pilot Group (owned and managed by Bob Pittman, father of MTV and ex-COO of AOL Time Warner) and Bill Sahlman (Harvard Business School vice-dean and professor of entrepreneurship). The amount of funding has not been previously disclosed but is believed to be around $5-7million.
WeShow brings an editorial approach to selecting and organizing the best online videos available from sites such as YouTube, DailyMotion, Metacafe, Google Video and others. The site also offers the monthly “WeShow Awards,” billed as the “world’s biggest online video contest” where users get to vote on content from each country WeShow has a local version for (US, UK and Brazil). WeShow TV rounds out the offering by providing a review style show featuring some “of the world’s best videos.”
The appeal of the service really comes down to whether online video consumers prefer their video delivered raw or refined. I’ve always thought that finding interesting videos was half the fun, but others may prefer to be spoon fed. Creatively, WeShow started their release for the site with survey results stating that 60% of Americans feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of online videos and 46% of these people do not watch more online videos because they dread the task of weeding through too many search results. I’m always a little skeptical about these sorts of numbers, but credit where it’s due: the company is demonstrating a problem before delivering the solution, a lesson well learned by some startups.
Overall it’s good at what it does. Navigation is easy and the variety of video choices is rich. Whether it’s an idea that’s strong enough to stand by itself will simply be a question that only time can answer.