Betaworks-Backed Telecast Brings The TGIF TV Experience To Mobile Internet Video


When this generation looks back to retell the best and most amazing past times of the early oughts, surfing YouTube will undoubtedly be on the list. But as we shift to a more mobile lifestyle, content discovery — with particular regards to internet video — is becoming less and less fluid.

That’s why betaworks is today launching Telecast, a new service that bundles internet video content into an easily digestible, themed package.

Co-founder and hacker-in-residence Matt Hackett (formerly one of the first employees at Tumblr and lead engineer there) came up with the idea for Telecast when he was looking for great video content on his iPad mini. “Right now, the video consumption experience on desktop is very different from that on mobile,” he said. “It’s almost impossible to quickly find high-quality video on your iPad or iPhone.”

To solve this problem, Telecast will bundle top-notch video from all over the internet into a package. This package consists of one to five videos, each lasting around five minutes. But each of these videos will have a common thread.

For example, you might open up Telecast to a package on noted television psychic hotline maven, Miss Cleo, wherein you’d watch a classic Miss Cleo ad, a clip of her on the Jerry Jones show, and then a clip from her confessional documentary on the falsities of hotlines. The trick here is not just threading together common videos, nor is it finding the best video on the web.

According to the co-founders, the amount of high-quality video floating around on the internet is growing by the second, while discovery tools aren’t changing much at all.

The trick, then, is that Telecast actually starts to learn about you. When you first sign up for the service, you’re taken through a cute little mini quiz to determine which channels Telecast should serve up. As it stands now, there are only around 12 channels but that will expand quickly as the service grows.

Once you’ve completed the quiz, Telecast starts to pay attention to what you watch to bring you even better tailored content.

“Watching video content is no longer about six shows in a row on Friday night,” said Matt. “Most of the best video out there is on the internet now, so we’re trying to bring a similar experience to mobile video consumption.”

I see Telecast being big with heavy YouTubers as well as those who only view videos sent directly to them in email or on social media. Both categories of human are interested in finding great video easily on their mobile devices. But to the team, Telecast is much more targeted at someone who isn’t interested in putting in the work it takes to find great mobile video, as opposed to the wanderer who can spend four hours on YouTube.

“We’re really focused on delivering the highest quality video possible,” said Matt. “We’re not an infinite well.”

But what about the cash?

The team sees a number of opportunities to generate revenue from Telecast, but the one they’re most excited about has to do with branded video. According to Matt, some of the best producers on the web are brands, but they have awful methods for driving traffic to the videos that often cost millions of dollars to make.

Telecast believes that they can step in and push users to branded content in a way that feels less like advertising, and more like watching part of a story unfold.

Telecast is available now in the App Store for users in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

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