Video discovery service Telly is launching its social video app on Android tablets today, a key step for the company as Google’s mobile OS becomes more important to its overall strategy and audience. Android engagement is growing quickly, the company has told TechCrunch exclusively, with Likes per week growing at a rapid pace, jumping from below 50,000 the week of May 17, to over 70,000 during the week of May 24. Telly also had 4.8 million views across all mobile platforms last week, which was up from 3 million the week prior.
The decision to optimize for Android tablets was driven partly by user feedback, according to Telly CEO and co-founder Mo Al Adham. It was a frequent user request, he says, as users seem to be getting more and more interested in Android-powered tablet devices. Android slates have been relatively slow to catch on, compared to devices like the iOS-powered iPad, but Google was talking a lot about encouraging developers to optimize their apps for tablet experiences at I/O this year, and a recent IDC study showed that Android tablets (from all manufacturers) overtook iPad in terms of global shipments during the first quarter of 2013.
“We’ve been working on this product for a little while now, even before the big announcements at I/O, and we’re excited about it,” Al Adham said. “Because video is really moving towards mobile, and whether that’s on a phone or a tablet we want to be there. And there’s a lot of growth when it comes to Android tablets lately, so it makes sense to be there for our users.”
Telly’s overall strategy is to provide a discovery layer between mobile and Internet video, since the old paradigm of search for “funny videos” or “stuff to watch” on the desktop doesn’t work on mobile. It was always hard to come up with what to look for to being with, Al Adham said, and on a mobile device you have the inspiration problem combined with the challenge of actually entering search terms and finding time to go looking. By pulling in your social networks as video sources, Telly acts as an easy access discovery layer.
Telly has also already made its first foray into monetization, with promoted videos that appear occasionally in a user’s feed, like Facebook’s promoted stories or Twitter’s promoted tweets. The idea is to make things as unobtrusive and natural as possible, while still giving big brands a chance to boost the visibility of their top content. This remains mostly an experiment, Al Adham says, but it is bringing in revenue, and once the small team feels they can turn their attention beyond product, more attention will be paid to growing that side of the business.