MondoPlayer is on its third complete re-write.
We have written and market tested MondoPlayer three times before arriving at a service we think will satisfy the market. This level of prototyping and testing is not unusual when you are trying to create a revolutionary product.
Our goal for MondoPlayer has been to blend the simplicity of traditional TV with the power of the Internet. We want to deliver a seamless service while offering users access to the widest possible range of video content.
As consumers move from cable TV to Internet based alternatives some useful features of TV are getting lost in translation.
To understand the landscape, it’s important to differentiate between conventional TV and the new capabilities offered by online video;
1. Sharing – Conventional TV did not allow users to share content. According to Market Land, 72% of users under the age of 50 share online video. Sharing has resulted in a large proportion of video being watched by users who encountered the video on Facebook or another social media service but were not “looking” for the video. These serendipitous interactions account for a huge percentage of the online video watched.
2. Curation – Users are able to curate lists of videos online, such as YouTube playlists. Curation benefits from the fact that people often understand the subtle qualities of a video better than a machine based algorithm. Sadly, our internal research shows the vast majority of curated playlists are not maintained and are out of date. While curation has had limited success in some niche markets, it has generally failed due to a lack of consistency among curators.
3. Searching – The days of dozens or hundreds of channels on TV have given way to billions of videos on the Internet. Searching for video has become a daunting problem. Users of Netflix and YouTube often find themselves wondering what to watch. While there are no statistics on how much time people spend searching as opposed to watching, the rise of services that help users discover content indicates this is a big problem.
4. Vegging – Vegging-out with online video can be challenging because most online videos are short. The average YouTube video lasts 4 minutes and 12 seconds (according to Sysomos). It’s difficult to kick back after a long day, when you’re stopping every 4 minutes to search for the next video.
5. Divergence – Users are faced with a staggering number of sources. Unlike cable TV, users have virtually unlimited access to different sources for video, many of which are free. There are so many sources that deciding which service to use has become as daunting an exercise as deciding which video to watch.
6. Walled Gardens – Although the Internet provides access to a wide variety of sources previously unavailable to TV viewers, a large amount of the video content is resident on websites that use proprietary structures. When a user visits YouTube, he/she can search within YouTube, but won’t find the video if it is resident on another site. If the user wants to create a playlist of videos from various sources, there is no way to do this so the videos play automatically in succession.
Video content on the Internet is in huge supply but is poorly organized.
Users have access to a vast amount of content, but the content is spread out among a lot of sources that don’t work nicely together. A user wanting a passive experience, in which videos play from many sources in a steady stream has no way to watch without stopping and searching between videos.
Content discovery systems exist that can provide lists of videos matching a search criteria, but these systems don’t provide a player that will stream the content in an uninterrupted stream.
MondoPlayer has evolved into a very simple product. Our solution has two components:
1. A social search engine that combines the curated content submitted by users with a powerful search engine.
2. A player that can play videos from many different sources in a continuous stream.
The result is a system that makes viewing very easy.
So far, user response to our Windows version has been incredibly positive. Our Android version is going to be released in the next few weeks and we are excited to see what you think.