EndlessTV App Launches, Brings Television-style Experience to Mobile

5/7/14Follow @jpruth

Watching video on smartphones just got a bit more like flipping through channels on TV.

On Wednesday, EndlessTV released its flagship app, offering personalized video viewing on mobile devices. There are many apps for streaming YouTube-style videos on mobile devices, but EndlessTV thinks its simplified approach sets it apart.

New York-based EndlessTV already offers a collection of apps people can use to watch themed video content on such subjects as sports, news, and cars. The new app launching today ties those most of those channels together, letting users see an array of videos. As they peruse short clips, users indicate with a touch of a finger what they want to keep watching. The more content they choose, the more the app understands the users’ preferences.

CEO Mike Weiksner introduced the new app Tuesday night to the New York Tech Meetup audience with a question: “What if my TV and my phone had a baby?”

Weiksner said that when he first posed the question to himself, it sounded interesting, but the complications quickly became apparent. He said that following traditional models, such a service would probably involve convoluted controls and high subscription fees, and video would load slowly. EndlessTV was created as an alternative.

When someone uses the app, which is free and available for Android, iOS, and Kindle devices, they get fed short clips from the channel they are interested in. They can choose to watch more of the video or swipe with a finger to see another clip. Videos on the sports channel, for example, might include recent highlights of the Brooklyn Nets, who are competing in this year’s NBA playoffs. The app starts to personalize the videos it features based on the clips the users decide to watch versus the content they choose to skip.

There is a sort of stripped-down feel to the app, aimed at making the experience similar to cruising through TV stations. Similar to traditional live broadcasts, the videos cannot be fast-forwarded nor rewound. There is also no search function. “This is all intentional to make this a simple way to consume video,” Weiksner said.

On many platforms with streaming videos, pre-roll ads run before the actual content begins. Not so with EndlessTV. Weiksner tells Xconomy that ads appear on his app when users hit the pause page, rather then stalling videos. EndlessTV also has revenue-sharing partnerships with video content providers to avoid using pre-roll ads.

Content for the channels is provided by media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and sources such as PopSugar, Complex, and Newsy. EndlessTV features a live broadcast from the QVC shopping channel, and Weiksner tells Xconomy he is working on partnerships to offer more live broadcasts from the Web and television.

EndlessTV already has backers including angel investor John Ason and 500 Startups, though the team did not go through the accelerator program.

Trying to make watching video even easier for its users, EndlessTV’s app has a feature to download content that can be watched when there is no data connection. As the app learns what the user is interested, it can curate about 30 to 40 minutes of video that can be watched anytime, even while riding the subway. “While your phone is plugged in on Wi-Fi at night, we can pre-download the videos,” Weiksner said.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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