Turntable.fm is so hot right now. In fact, when it comes to tweets, the synchronous social music platform may even have more Klout than Pandora or Spotify. With the rise in popularity of Turntable, it’s only natural that video curation platforms would be eager to take a cue from the music dance party site and bring that disco to videos.
Two weeks ago, we covered the launch of Chill, which in concept is almost a direct analogue of Turntable.fm for videos, except that in the case of Chill, there are “Lounges” as opposed to the DJ rooms of Turntable. A stretch, I know. Of course, when it comes to social video experiences, there’s Socialcam and Google+, which both let you watch videos with your friends online, but there’s so much more potential here for interactivity, as shown by Turntable.
ShortForm, the year-and-half-old startup that launched to help video fanatics create personalized channels of web video content, also recently took to the synchronous, social video experience, as it recently launched its Live Video Parties integration, which allows video jockeys to broadcast video content to a live audience.
When we first covered ShortForm back in March, the startup had just crossed the million visitors milestone, and the adoption continues, as ShortForm CEO Nader Ghaffari told me that, in July alone, the startup attracted 1 million unique visitors.
This is a key leg up for ShortForm as it enters a hot space, as its new video party feature was built on top of thousands of already-curated video channels, from sources like YouTube, Vimeo, and pretty much every other video platform out there.
As ShortForm has already launched to make it easy for their VJs to mix videos from these platforms into their own personalized channels, broadcast in back-to-back format like the TV viewing experience. Thus, ShortForm’s VJs can play their own curated video channels for their audience or pick from thousands of other VJ channels from the startup’s channel guide.
Of course, up until now, the startup’s VJs were viewing video content asynchronously, but with the launch of Video Parties, ShortFormers can now view curated video content simultaneously with hundreds of other friends, and chat with these other viewers while they watch — just like Turntable.
The neat thing about ShortForm’s approach is that it spotlights profile pictures of all the viewers in a live video party to bring in that extra level of social interactivity between viewers and VJs. Of course, when it comes to what videos are played, the host VJ controls the party and what’s shown. However, the host can, at any point, pass the “remote”, so to speak, to any other viewer, turning that viewer into the new VJ. If the original host doesn’t like what they’re seeing, they can always snatch the remote back from the offending VJ and restore their control over what cat videos are being played.
“The big vision I see here”, Ghaffari said, “is that the first wave of stars in online video were the content creators. Now, with so much content produced daily, there is an opportunity to create a new breed of stars. Those stars are VJs who can curate that content into channels that tell amazing stories and share those channels with friends and viewers worldwide. Live Video Parties give those VJs a social and interactive way to tell their stories”.
Live Video Parties really do have the opportunity to be addictive and engaging experiences, especially through chat, as viewers can discuss in realtime what they’re watching, or take off and start their own party. The fact that users can pass the baton around, too, and give the VJing power to other users, goes a long way to building a true interactive video platform.
To give TC readers a taste of the Video Party experience, ShortForm has created a custom party focused on a TechCrunch-branded experience, in this case specifically Chris Dixon’s “Founder Stories”. Viewers can join each other, as well as the ShortForm staff, to watch a simultaneous stream of Dixon’s interviews. Of course, usually the host can pass the remote to other viewers, but in this case, it’s all Founder Stories, all the time. It’s a great example of how VJs, brands, and more will be able to customize their pages and their video experience to grab eyes, views, and maybe even dollars.