The success of apps such as Meerkat and Periscope show that consumers want to use mobile devices as a way to experience events they can’t attend.
This is evidenced by the fact that Periscope recently hit 10 million accounts and 2 million daily active users.
However, live streaming is “inherently limited”, according to Uri Schneider, CEO and co-founder of TVibes, maker of an iOS app that offers “near live” content as an alternative.
Speaking to Mobile World Live, he said live streaming means everyone has to tune in at exactly the right moment and a seamless experience is dependent on a good wireless or data connection on both ends.
“Without that, viewers suffer from the frustrations of buffering or a low quality experience.”
His answer is ‘near live’ video, which is where TVibes comes in.
“TVibes takes a more TV-like approach to offer crowdsourced, curated channels with ‘near live’ content. Broadcasts by TVibes users are instantly accessible after being uploaded and, if they’ve been designated public, can be watched immediately by everyone,” he explained.
In his opinion, this also allows providers to ensure quality stays high, and users can enjoy watching video content when it is most convenient, for instance using their home Wi-Fi as opposed to cellular data.
The app allows for a 360 degree view of an event because instead of one stream, there are several feeds from multiple people at the event who are all taking and sharing video from different perspectives.
“Viewers get a much fuller, richer experience,” he said.
He believes ‘near live’ also encourages more people to participate in uploading content.
According to him, the vast majority of live streaming app users are passive viewers because they are uncomfortable sharing content publicly or feel they don’t have enough control over what people end up seeing.
However, with near live videos that feeling is mitigated, since people can upload content at their leisure and with as much control as they’d like, which means “you actually end up with more content”.
He added that it is also much easier to moderate near live content, making it easier to avoid copyright issues and inappropriate content.
Shedding more light on TVibes, he said it automatically organises content by tag, location and time, which means that users can watch dedicated channels with content from a specific event.
The content remains accessible after the event is over, and if any new content is added later, it will be automatically added to the channel.
Schneider did not comment on how many users TVibes has, only saying it has seen “strong growth since launching” in July this year.
As for competitors, Schneider “there are plenty of apps out there which offer parts of what we offer” but no one app or platform “optimises the video shooting, sharing and storing experience for users in an intuitive way”.
For instance, no app allows users to share across a variety of privacy settings.
“With TVibes you have one channel, but depending on the setting of each video, only specific people will be able to see the content,” he said.
“Similarly, our channel-based, TV-like approach sets us apart. Most apps treat mobile video like computer files – needing to be opened individually, watched and then closed before opening another.”
“With TVibes, videos autoplay and are organised so that relevant content is grouped together,” he continued.
The app also aims to solve storage issues: smartphone memory is at a premium, TVibes believes, and videos take up a lot of space. Downloading them to a hard drive or a cloud service like Dropbox means videos get lost or forgotten about.
With TVibes, a video is automatically stored as soon as it’s uploaded, and organised by theme, location or date.
As for the future, TVibes’ immediate goal is to come out with an Android version so that it can expand the potential market it serves and drive increased user growth.
In the long term, it is looking to debut a solution geared towards brands, “allowing them to leverage the platform to connect with their target audience through less produced, more ‘everyday’ video.”
Explaining what he meant by everyday video, he said “in a content and ad-saturated ecosystem, consumers are looking for more ‘genuine’ and personal messages from brands. TVibes provides the perfect platform for brands to share ‘less produced’ video content.”