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In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months: social video is the new black.
Arguably, Vine set the standard in June 2012 with its short six second video service. It was enough to grab the attention of Twitter, which acquired the startup in October of the same year. Shortly after it debuted as a free iOS app, it became the number one most downloaded free app in the store and the most used video application in the market.
In June, Facebook’s newly acquired Instagram played “catch-up” by launching its own 15 second video service. What set it apart were the filters, synonymous with Instagram, that users could apply to their videos post-recording.
Enter Hang W/ (pronounced “Hang With”), a product out of the Medl Mobile stable that has just secured a US$2-million round of funding to take things to the next level. Hang W/ is like a live video twitter and allows users to:
- Broadcast three minutes of live uninterrupted video in real-time;
- Get paid for their broadcasts. (At time of publishing, no other social video sharing app offers this);
- Publish across platforms from one device, which means that one video can be published to both iPhone and Android devices
- Connect and interact with celebs
We sat down with Medl Mobile founder, Dave Swartz, to get the lowdown.
Memeburn: How is this different to Instagram Video and Vine?
Dave Swartz: Hang W/ offers users three minutes of live uninterrupted video and users will be paid a percentage of the ad revenue from their broadcasts. Think of it as being like a live video twitter. If there’s one thing we feel is missing from the social media landscape – its immediacy. Sure you can watch the other videos right when it’s posted. But there’s no urgency or sense that if you’re not there when it happens, that you missed something. We think that actually hanging with someone live, in the moment, is the true basis of connection. Hang w/ is all about being in the moment whereas other apps only allow users to share experiences from the past.
MB: What are your views on the growth of the social video market?
DS: Social networking sites and online video are among two of the most popular things people engage online and saw a gap in the market.
We wanted to do something different and connect people face to face. Through our interaction with clients — many of which are celebrities – the one thing they have common is their desire to connect with people who like what they do. This was where the concept for Hang w/ began. Therefore we feel that the growth has been both organic and driven by demand…and will continue to grow and interact with other social media platforms.
MB: Can you name some celebs who are using Hang w/?
DS: We have numerous celebs who have jumped on Hang w/ which is obviously very pleasing for us.
Some of the celebs using the app include Timbaland, Larry King, Paula Abdul, Chief Keef, Kaskade, Ali Landry and Terrell Owens. We have growing interest amongst the world of celebs, who are joining the Hang w/ revolution.
MB: What are your usage numbers looking like?
DS: Growth has been phenomenal since Hang w/ launched just a few months ago. We have almost 400,000 users with more than 8,000,000 user sessions to date and with the recent release of Hang w/ on Android, we expect the numbers to grow considerably.
MB: How is this different to Google Hang Out?
DS: Hang w/ makes the world your neighbor and connects you with people who you would otherwise never cross paths with. Google Hang Out on mobile has limitations which Hang w/ doesn’t – for example it only allows you to tune in and broadcast to 10 users and is aimed at the friends you actually know, rather than enabling you to have a glimpse into the lives of people who you would like to know!
Also, Hang Out is to connect with people you know well (such as your google circle friends). Hang w/ is to connect and follow lots of new people. It’s more like Twitter in that way.
MB: What is the future of this tech?
DS: The future will be integrating other social media so you can share seamlessly from Hang w/.