The hunt continues for the Holy Grail of video discovery apps. Showyou, which is among the leaders in the category, has just released a new iPad app that is designed to make it even easier for users to find content that will be interesting and relevant to them. With a number of tweaks, both in the presentation layer and on the back end, Showyou is bringing more personalized recommendations front and center.
One big change is what consumers see when they first open Showyou. Rather than have a sort of infinite wall of video that had become a hallmark of the app ever since launch a few years ago, users can now switch to a smart feed of the videos and information necessary to determine whether they want to watch a movie or not. That includes information about which of their friends have shared the video, either in-app or on social networks, as well as what people have commented on or liked.
But it’s not just the presentation that has been changed — fundamentally, Showyou has become less about poking around videos that a user’s friends have shared on social networks, and more about surfacing content that will be most relevant to them. Following on changes that the startup recently made to its iPhone app, the new Showyou iPad app also works to bring less noise and more personalized recommendations to the forefront.
Using 18 separate criteria, the app seeks to highlight videos that are both interesting from a social context and relevant to a user’s interests. The app is also designed to learn what kinds of videos a user likes to watch based on what they click on, to provide better recommendations as time goes on.
While the process for picking a video has changed, so has Showyou’s approach to viewing. Part of Showyou’s appeal is in finding not just one video to watch, but hopefully highlighting many pieces of content that will be of interest to users. So it’s got a continuous playback experience built into the app to encourage longer, multi-video viewing sessions. Once a video is over, a new one will start. Or, if a user isn’t interested in a certain piece of content, they can simply swipe the screen to the right and move on to the next suggested video in Showyou’s personally recommended feed.
But the new Showyou is not all about serendipitous viewing. It also wants to make it easier to find relevant videos about certain topics. Therefore, if users become fascinated by a certain topic of interest, they can choose from any number of relevant tags that help Showyou determine what a video is about. Clicking a tag will bring up a feed of more relevant videos on a topic.
The amount of content Showyou parses through every day is huge, so boiling down videos to a small set of recommendations is a monumental task. Since the last release, Showyou has added more than 100 new content channels to the app, and is processing more than 11 million videos that are shared by friends and contacts through social channels every day. But if it works, it works: Already, Showyou users spend on average about 40 minutes per session on the iPad app, and the startup expects that will only increase as the new features are designed to boost engagement.