One of the main things we try to do at TechCrunch is highlight new gadgets, apps, and other products that you might want to check out. We’re hardly the only site with that aim, but the success of Product Hunt (which recently won our Crunchie Award for Best New Startup) suggests that there’s an appetite for services that are all product discovery, all the time.
Startup Tube Centrex is trying to get in on the action by launching a new iOS app called Product TV, which brings together product videos from across the web. It’s a simple idea, but it has a lot of potential, since videos can more effective than words or images at communicating the actual experience of using a product, as well as the vision behind it.
In a blog post announcing the app, Tube Centrex founder Fahad Khan suggests that it can be tough for startups to get attention without significant PR spending — you might get coverage from “top tech-blogs,” but the odds are against you when it comes to “the mainstream news organizations.”
As for why Product TV’s approach makes sense, Khan writes:
If a product video quickly explains what the respective product does, you are more likely make a decision right there and then. Product videos are precisely what made crowd-funding work. Product videos are the key to convert potential customers into investors on crowd-funding platforms, such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter. These platforms would die without product videos.
He draws the crowdfunding comparison out further, suggesting Product TV could eventually “become the Indiegogo/Kickstarter for product marketing.”
Weirdly, there doesn’t appear to be a product video demonstrating Product TV — I guess it could be a little tough since the central part of the experience is other people’s videos. Anyway, I tried out the app, which gives you a feed of different product videos, curated by the Tube Centrex team (though they’re open to submissions). You can also filter the results based on categories like “Watches & Wearables” and “Presence & VR.”
Khan told me that the emphasis will be on official product videos, though it might use review videos if official ones don’t exist.
Newness doesn’t seem to be the main criteria — as I write this, the top spot is occupied by a Google Street View Hyperlapse video from nearly two years ago — but to be fair, Khan’s post paints Product TV as an experiment (it’s rare to see a product launch post with the words, “We are not one hundred percent sure”), so perhaps this will change over time. And more than anything, the app does what it says on the tin, letting the videos themselves take center stage.
Tube Centrex, by the way, bills itself as a platform for YouTube stars, luxury brands, and other customers to build their own video apps. Looks Like the company will also be creating apps of its own.
You can download the Product TV iOS app here. There are plans for Android and Windows 8 apps, too.