Video discovery app 5by, acquired by StumbleUpon in 2013, has seen “tremendous growth” thanks to Google’s Chromecast streaming device, and has businesses on its mind as it continues to grow. It’s also about to get an update with some new features.
Is video part of your marketing strategy? Are you eager to see 5by offer business accounts? Let us know in the comments.
We spoke with CEO Greg Isenberg, who told us a bit about 5by’s system for finding and curating great videos from around the Internet as well as some things that are in store for its future.
“We built a technology that looks at trusted sources we’ve identified (e.g. Bloomberg News, Reddit, etc.) to detect early signs of virality like engagement and social signals,” Isenberg tells WebProNews. “Our speciality is seeking out the hidden gems with just a few hundred views and that’s why people come to 5by – for videos they haven’t yet seen.”
“From there, they’re aggregated into a dashboard which our editorial team weeds through,” he explains. “Our secret sauce is the human curation element because it takes a real person to determine what should make the cut and our team’s developed a knack for it.”
5by currently employs just one person to curate content full-time, but also has a handful of part timers doing it, whom he says are “passionate” about certain channels and interests.
“First they watch the video and if it passes the quality test, they categorize and tag it, putting it in the 5by database (which also lets you search for videos across YouTube, Vimeo and other sources),” he explains. “The hand-selected, human-watched videos get a 5by ‘approval stamp’ which is our guarantee that it’s top quality.”
StumbleUpon CEO Mark Bartels recently told us, that long-term, as 5by scales, we’ll see it leverage StumbleUpon’s ingestion engine, which includes user-submitted content. In other words, one day, you’ll be able to submit your video content to 5by rather than relying on them to find it on their own. Obviously, they’ll still determine whether or not it’s worth showing to users. For now, you can submit videos by email by simply sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can personally credit the Chromecast with getting me to watch more 5by content, and I’m definitely not surprised to hear about the service’s growth as a direct result of Google’s $35 device.
“We were actually one of the first video apps to be Chromecast-compatible and have seen tremendous growth as a result of the integration,” Isenberg tells us. “With 5by, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re going to get good content so a typical use case is that it’ll be a Friday or Saturday night, and someone will beam 5by onto the TV to entertain a room full of people – Covers is a personal favorite channel for that. Ultimately it becomes an endless video playlist and as a result, we see a longer session time (sometimes several hours) because of the larger screen.”
In an FAQ section on its website, 5by says it plans to roll out business accounts in the future. Asked about what these might entail, Isenberg says, “There are a lot of ways we can approach business accounts but we’ll likely start by looking at who’s already doing well on 5by like Go Pro, Red Bull, Gary Vaynerchuk, among others. We want to be selective about who we work with to preserve quality but these are the partners that understand how to create high quality videos. Brands and media companies have also reached out to us because they see we’re contributing significant video views.”
“Think of 5by as the lighter fuel,” he adds. “If you’ve got the content (good content that is), 5by can distribute it. There have been multiple times when we’ve made videos go ‘viral’ by giving it a push.”
So far, 5by has content partnerships in place with VICE, The Tribeca Film Festival, Defy Media, Mashable and Gary Vaynerchuk, but Isenberg tells us they’ll have some major partner announcements in the coming months.
In addition to its content partnerships, 5by primarily uses YouTube and Vimeo as its video sources, but Isenberg tell us that’s “changing very soon”. Look for additional sources to be added into the mix.
5by can, of course, only display public videos. However, public video on Facebook is growing like a weed, so don’t be surprised to see some of that creeping in.
“In general, people are not just posting videos to YouTube anymore,” Isenberg says. ” They’re uploading to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Vine. In the future, 5by will be a layer on top of those platforms to become a one-stop-shop for all things video.”
Isenberg tells us the newest iteration of 5by should be available by next week. This will include Highlighted Channels on the home screen, a “more intuitive Daily 5” feature (with “the must-see videos to discuss around the water cooler”), an improved Chromecast experience, and an overall quicker load time. It will also include the ability to send videos while you’re watching them.
One drawback to 5by for parents is that there isn’t any kind of kid mode, and let’s face it – not all of the Internet’s best videos are kid-friendly.
Isenberg tells us, “We have been approached by quite a few people who make kids content. It’s likely something we’ll explore in the long term.”
When we interviewed him about a year ago, Isenberg mentioned “more personalization” and “expanding to new platforms” as areas to focus on. These are still areas where 5by has plenty of room to grow.
Do you use 5by? Are you interested in gaining it as a potential marketing channel? Share your thoughts in the comments.