Startup Spotlight…YouAreTV Puts Viewers in the “Live” Light | VideoInk
 
 

Startup Spotlight…YouAreTV Puts Viewers in the “Live” Light

/ Apr 8, 2013

YouAreTv Screenshot 2

Three years ago, at the height of online social video sensation Chatroulette, puckish entrepreneur Josh Weinstein had an idea — a vision really — that involved merging live social interactions with online video in a way that could be profitable for content creators. Or, at the very least, he wanted to build the technology that would serve as the conduit for these content creators. From there, YouAreTV was born.

“We started out as an accidental creation,” says Weinstein, CEO, YouAreTV, “From Chatroulette we had an epiphany where we saw the future of entertainment as being interactive and in real time.”

Say a creator has a live show airing every Tuesday at 4pm. YouAreTV develops the technology that allows viewers to video call into the live show and participate in real time.

“A good analog is Ustream,” says Weinstein, “but we have a functionality on top of that that allows people to video call in, so it’s pretty straightforward in that sense.”

But there’s a twist.

Viewers can opt in to be a participant on the live show, with show creators having the ability to feature them on the actual show for as long as they want. Once the viewer opts in, or says, “Yeah, I want to participate,” they’re put in a waiting pool of sorts with other people who have also indicated they want to be on the show. While they wait in the “backstage” area they can text chat with each other.

“Some people refer to it as [Google] Hangout on steroids,” quips Weinstein.

It seems pretty simple, and in a way it is. But developing the technology hasn’t been smooth sailing.

“It’s a surprisingly difficult tech problem that we’ve been working out for a while,” says Weinstein, “We initially started working on the tech in late 2010, and went through a couple different iterations. Four months ago is when we created something we’re really excited about. So we’re ready to move forward on that.”

“I think it’s a pretty exciting piece of tech that enables a new type of content experience. It’s interactive and participants can have an infinite number of people to interact with in real time,” Weinstein adds.

With their technology firmly in place, YouAreTV is looking to expand partnerships, as well as their in house operational team (At press time, there are about a half dozen staffers working out of YouAreTV’s Union Square offices, and the company has plans to bring on more as partnerships develop in the coming months). At first, the company relied on investors for funding, but now that they are deep into development and have a product to show, partnerships and licensing deals are becoming a reality.

YouAreTV_Merton

One of YouAreTV’s biggest successes is the green-hoodied musician Merton who rose to early fame on Chatroulette by serenading strangers with piano ditties. Merton also served as an early inspiration for Weinstein and currently partners with YouAreTV for his weekly web series.

“We are now beginning to form some of our initial partnerships, talking to folks ranging from production studios to YouTube networks, as well as recording artists and other celebs,” says Weinstein, “Right now, we’re more of a B2B label. We white-label YouAreTV for our partners.”

There are vast implications for YouAreTV’s application both online and off — everything from “American Idol” to presidential debates.

Sure, real-time interaction with an at-home audience still may be something of the future, but it’s a future that’s coming in a few months, and broadcasters and creators need to be prepared for it.

“I think it still is early right now, but we’re starting to see signs of things shifting rapidly with platforms like Aereo and Netflix, and the growth of YouTube,” says Weinstein, “I think we’re about to reach a tipping point, when it becomes very matter of fact that there is a convergence between broadcast and digital.”

Check out a demo of their product here:

 

Tags: , , , , , ,


Red Bull Series

Red Bull’s New Series Explores History of Video Game Music

YouTubeSpaces_Legendary

Legendary and YouTube Team Up for Spooky Content Competition

Crowd005

YouTube’s Fan Funding Feature Now Live in the US

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 10.54.17 AM

GQ’s New Series Will Cure Your Hangover

netflixTV

Netflix and Facebook Allow Users to Send Private Recommendations...

Idiot'sGuide

Above Average Renews Its Animated Tutorials for Idiots

NewsToKnow

Tuesday 9.2: News to Know

Culture Machine

Culture Machine Raises Money, Boards Former YouTube Product Head...

jim louderback

Jim Louderback Exits Discovery Digital Networks

MobileTechnology

6 Mobile Technologies Creators and Content Providers Should Try

BBC

BBC’s iPlayer to Strut Out Multiple Shows for London...

vice

Time Warner Out on Vice Media, A+E Networks Buys In (Updated)

FowlerSistersEarBiscuits_01

The Fowler Sisters on How to Deal with Hate Online

Before_going_mobile_02

What Should Video Creators Know Before Going Mobile?

The_Chair

Starz to Stream Episodes of Shane Dawson Series Ahead of Premiere

angrybirdstoons

Angry Birds Maker Rovio Names Next CEO

kendall_rhodes01

Untitled Hires Relativity Exec Kendall Rhodes to Grow Digital Business

TheSpecials_01

Oprah Winfrey’s OWN to Air Webby-Winning Docu-Series...

VideoInkRecap_Aug

Recap! VideoInk Presents… Mobile Video and Vine

Own_image

Oprah Winfrey Network Keeps Growing Its Empire…Digitally

Fred

Lucas Cruikshank and CDS Bring Back ‘Fred’

amazonstudios

The Latest Amazon Pilots Are Here

Marco Polo_04_00101r1

Netflix Sets Premiere Date for ‘Marco Polo’ —...

NetFrance

Netflix’s First French Series Wants to Be Another...

NewsToKnow

Thursday 8.28: News to Know

Native_Ads

The Rise of Native Ads and the Importance of Being Human

WSW_03

Web Series Wednesday: Dark, Eccentric, and Inspirational

US_OnlineVideo

Why Hollywood Can’t Ignore Digital Distribution

Raindance_Web_Fest

What’s in Store for UK’s Raindance Web Fest 2014

PlutoTV

Pluto.TV Adds More Top Digital Video Players to Lineup

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 11.40.32 AM

‘Better Homes and Gardens’ Debuts on Portico TV

brian_felsen_01

YouTube Music Monetizer AdRev Names New President

amazon transparent

Amazon to Debut ‘Transparent’ in September

Vimeo

Vimeo Bolsters Library with Slate of New Distribution Partners

CampTakoa

Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart to Host 2014 Streamy Awards

NewsToKnow

Wednesday 8.27: News to Know

Vi_ViewPoints

Tune In to #VIViewpoints! We’re Live!