Sifting videos gets easier with new Yahoo app

12 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Search every video-streaming service with Yahoo’s new app.

Yahoo’s new iOS app will have viewers spending less time searching through streaming apps to find something to watch, and more time actually watching.Yahoo today is hoping to capitalize on the cord-cutting trend and consumers’ growing attachment to streaming video services with the launch of a new app called Yahoo Video Guide.Time Inc. said Thursday that it had added Hulu, Yahoo and Zealot Networks to the ranks of outlets that will distribute its growing amount of original video. The app, available now on iOS and Android, will help you find new movies and TV shows to watch on HBO, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other services, then allow you to launch titles directly in the video apps you already have installed on your smartphone.

Other partners in Time Inc.’s video network include Amazon/Amazon Video Shorts, CBS Local Digital Media, Gannett/USA Today, Vessel’s Video Service and Nextstar Broadcasting, AOL/AOLon, Cinesport, Scripps/ULive and Tout. While in the cable TV era, consumers had on-screen guides that would tell them what shows were on which channels and when, modern-day streaming services often fall short on their recommendations. Just look at the results from the second quarter of this year: The Pay-TV sector lost 566,000 customers in the United States with an annual rate of shrinkage of 0.7 percent, compared to 0.1 percent a year ago, according to analyst Craig Moffett. Time Inc. plans include expanding the network internationally. “The goal is telling stories in video and take them to as wide an audience as possible,” said J.R. Though Netflix has steadily tried to improve its recommendation algorithm over the years, the user interface on its service – and on many of its competitors – still tends to push its featured and exclusive content instead of more personalized suggestions.

So as more people are converting to streaming services, there has to be a way to find out what’s being shown on which service and app — enter Yahoo’s Video Guide. It took less than 30 seconds to discover that the first Hobbit film is available to stream on the TBS app, that we can rent the sequel on Amazon or iTunes, and that the third and final installment is currently streaming on HBO Go. However, the implementation is a little gimmicky – you browse through GIFs that match your mood and the app will make recommendations based on fit, the company says. However, it’s undeniable that Yahoo, despite all its corporate woes, still has a huge microphone, and is capable of funneling lots of its users to its various apps and properties — and as the number of streaming services is growing, it’s likely that some of Yahoo’s users will appreciate some hand-holding. There are mobile banners on the free version of Can I Stream It?, and you have to pay $1.99 for the Pro version that lets you search through just the services you subscribe to.

Yahoo said that its Video Guide app works with the major video streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Showtime, ABC, FOX, A&E, AMC, Disney Channel, Spike, TNT, USA, PBS, Amazon, Apple, and Google Play. It does not do anything with user-generated content pulled from YouTube or Vimeo, nor is Yahoo’s own content included (sorry, no Saturday Night Live unless it comes from somewhere else). On the app’s homescreen you can browse through featured suggestions (i.e., new and popular titles), or tab over to “Movies” or “Shows” to filter your options by content type. The app has a “Mood Picker” feature that will provide shows and movies based on whether you feel happy, sad, or angry — just choose the corresponding GIF.

The app also integrates Rotten Tomatoes ratings, and includes standard details like a text description, release year, industry rating, length, and details on cast, directors, writers, and more. These aren’t meant to be personalization features — in fact, at launch, the app doesn’t offer any of this capability, just basic recommendation features. There are now a variety of smaller services where TV shows, movies and other original videos can be found – like Watchable, go90, Stream, Sling TV, Noggin, Feeln, Tubi TV, Vimeo, Pluto TV, Vessel, SeeSo, and more – but not all these apps include these niche services. In a time when people have an average of three or more of these services, such as Netflix, HBO Go, and Amazon Prime, we’ve reached a “tipping point where people are daisy-chaining a bunch of apps together to get the videos they want,” he said.

But the real challenge for the app is getting people to change their behavior – meaning, launching a third-party app instead of just hitting up their top video services directly. Founded in 1994 by Stanford PhD candidates David Filo and Jerry Yang as a way for them to keep track of their personal interests on the Internet, Yahoo! has grown into a company that helps p… read more »

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