Neverthink might just be the most ‘lean back’ online video experience yet. The site (and as of today, iOS app) takes content sourced from YouTube, Reddit and elsewhere and re-packages it into non-skippable channels. The result is a TV-like experience that, say its creators, is more “on-demand distraction” than on-demand video.
“We believe that the main reason people watch videos online is just because they want some distraction,” says Neverthink co-founder Aviv Junno. “To clear their mind after a day of work, have something in the background to keep them company, to watch while commuting to work, on the toilet etc. People don’t necessarily want to watch something specific, or want the perfect video. We created Neverthink for those times”.
So what kind of channels will you find on Neverthink? I count thirty in total, ranging from sports, music and the arts, to documentaries, news, and tech. But you’ll also find more ambiguous channel titles, such as “YOLO,” “Learn something,” and “Futurism”. It all feels quite millennial.
With that said, the channels mimic good old-fashioned broadcast television in that there are no controls to let you skip a video or replay one, meaning that the only interactivity offered is to channel hop. Just like on the telly.
Originally built by Junno and his co-founder Claus Nurro as a side project for their own use, Neverthink has since evolved from a basic site that automatically aggregated content from Reddit and YouTube to what the pair describe as a “learning content management system that optimises the playlists of each channel constantly based on quantitative user feedback”.
In addition, the startup now has an editorial team, meaning that all channels go through manual curation as well. “Additionally, we have partner channels that are curated by our partners,” says the Neverthink founder, in reference to the startup’s nascent business model. The company gets paid for every 1,000 visits to a partner channel.
“This product is really for everybody, just like TV, but more specifically young people who are not familiar with the experience of TV think its an amazing and innovative idea,” he adds, revealingly. “People that remember using a TV in their childhood (like us) think it’s a great comeback and older people are excited about it because they don’t always know how to find videos on YouTube and mostly don’t even know Reddit, so Neverthink makes it accessible for them for the first time”.
Neverthink’s founding story is equally curious, too. The product was never meant to be a company, but that all changed in November last year, about the same time as an early version of the site got posted to Product Hunt, when Junno met with Oskari Kettunen, the Managing Partner of Reaktor Ventures.
“It was just a casual meeting that had nothing to do with Neverthink and in the last ten minutes of the meeting I told him about the project and showed him the site,” he explains. “He liked it and asked to see the metrics, so I showed him our Google Analytics”.
Then, entirely unexpectedly, Kettunen asked Junno if, given a $100,000 investment immediately, he would turn Neverthink into a company. “I said yes and we shook hands and that’s how we started,” he says.