Video curation platform Shortform is launching a few new features that will make it easier for its video jockeys (VJs) to curate and share content with friends and followers. The hope is that by introducing a browser bookmarklet, as well as implementing Facebook Open Graph, the startup will be able to continue its hockey stick-like growth in video minutes consumed.
Shortform is introducing a bookmarklet for adding videos to their channels. The bookmarklet will work with all modern browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer), making it easier for VJs to instantly update their playlists without having to open a new tab, copy and paste the URL, etc. In addition to adding videos to their channels, the bookmarklet will also find all videos from YouTube, Vimeo, and CollegeHumor that are on a given page so that users can choose between them.
In addition to the new bookmarklet, Shortform is also rolling out Facebook Open Graph integration, which will seamlessly share the channels that users are watching. Shortform already had launched a connection with Facebook that let VJs and viewers to share what they were watching with friends on the social network, but they had to click a share button to do so. The new social feature will automatically share channels and VJs that viewers are watching, so long as they opt in.
According to Shortform CEO Nader Ghaffari, the choice to share channels and not individual videos was not just meant to avoid spamming user news feeds, like some other high-profile video startups have over the past few weeks. It was also because Shortform is, at its core, about curated collections of videos, and it hopes to highlight those collections rather than individual pieces of content.
The goal is to grow its user base, but also to increase engagement — that is, the amount of time that users spend watching videos through Shortform channels. Since the beginning of the year, the startup has seen a 400 percent increase in the time spent per month, with users watching more than 16 million minutes of video in April.
One way it’s currently doing that is by encouraging its VJs fighting for viewers’ attention. The site runs a weekly VJ competition, where it rewards the top 50 VJs, as determined by the total amount of time users spend on each of their channels. Shortform is awarding a total of $2,500 to the top channels every week, with the first-place VJ getting $600, second place getting $400, third place getting $200, and so-on down the line.
While the competition is one way to reward the VJ who are driving users to the service, it’s just one step toward providing them with more money. In the future, Ghaffari says he’d like to have a more formal revenue-sharing agreement with VJs as the startup ramps up its own monetization.