Mobile Social Video

Since my success with GoGoVerde, I have been looking for another opportunity to work on a startup with great potential. My partners and I think the mobile social video space offers such potential, but our market analysis, prototyping (detailed here), and testing made it look like a difficult space for a small team to be successful in. We continue to experiment in this space to find the right solution for the right market.

Market Analysis and Testing

1. Social Video Market

The general market of social video is huge and growing rapidly. In just the last year, the amount of video content has more than doubled, with everyday users becoming content providers for everything from entertainment for family and friends to how to, gaming, and political commentary. My partners and I believed that many of these uses could be enhanced through the ability of both authors and viewers to add creative content to the videos without having to edit the source of the video. To that end, we tested the following markets.

2. Job Interview Coaching

One of the first markets we considered was preparation and feedback on job interviews. This might take the form of a job seeker practicing answers to interview questions and getting feedback from friends, colleagues, or professional coaches. We could see synergy here with platforms such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Monster.com. To evaluate this market, we talked to job recruiters and job seekers.

3. Sports Coaching

Another market we evaluated was sports coaching. This might take the form of a sports coach recording athlete performance and providing asynchronous feedback on performance, technique, and suggestions for improvement. We also considered amateur athletes recording their own practice and submitting the video for review to volunteer or paid coaches online. We tested with market with Taekwondo schools for feedback on forms and sparring.

4. Entertainment: Political Satire

The entertainment space offers many opportunities for making video more social. One area made popular on such TV shows as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report is that of political satire. Being able to take video sound bites of political speech or debate and add sarcastic mockery or enthusiatic cheering is popular on the left and the right. We tested this market with frequent consumers and amateur contributors to political commentary.

5. Entertainment: Family

Another big part of the entertainment video space is sharing among family and friends on social media outlets such as YouTube and Facebook. While both platforms allow for comments and likes, and YouTube even allows for authors to annotate, we think there is an opportunity for more integrated social interactions — allowing others to add creative content and respond to that of others. The example to the right/below shows multiple people commenting and responding to one another.

6. Classroom Feedback

The education space offers several markets where adding social interaction to video could enhance the experience or effectiveness. Many Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offer online chat rooms for courses where students and teachers can communicate. Video annotation could allow for more of this interaction to be tied to the specific relevant portions of recorded lectures. Or lectures could be annotated for clarification by teachers without the need for re-recording or editing exiting videos.

7. Competition / Prior Art

Another part of our market analysis was to look at potential competitors and prior art in the area of video annotation and social video. What we found was a mixed bag of attempts to bring social interaction to video — with many failed experiments, but also some recent successes. The increase in mobile platform authoring, improved design interaction, and bandwidth reliability all add to a sense that the time is right for enabling video consumers to become co-authors. However, none of these efforts show signs of viral adoption, with the exception of Snapchat.

8. Marketplace of Experts

In our most recent market analysis, we identified our best bet for a standalone business model that did not rely on the collaboration of existing large social networks delivering video — a marketplace of experts. The idea would be for experts in domains of sport, business, or art to offer review and coaching of amateurs. We would choose a narrow, targeted domain as a proof-point and grow from there. However, we quickly found a well-funded competitor in this space — and they were not thriving. They have now pivoted their concept a bit and been acquired by Porch, but we took this as a market test of our idea and it did not look promising. So we are still looking for the right solution for the right market.