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Summary:

Can a virtual stock exchange for content curation, combined with Reddit-style voting, lead to better online video discovery? Turkey-based media curation startup Woisio thinks so, and it is trying to prove its theory with a private beta test of its new platform.

woisio screenshot

Many video curation startups do away with the old-fashioned programming guide to help users find TV shows and online clips. Turkey-based Woisio, which launches its private beta Monday, takes a little bit of a different approach: it keeps the guide – but gets rid of the schedulers.

Woisio wants, instead, to use game mechanics and collaborative filtering to compile a new set of channels, and, in turn, get rid of the traditional middlemen. “Media shouldn’t be mediated,” said the company’s founder Mujdat Ayoguz when he stopped by our office a few weeks ago.

Here’s how Woisio works: The platform offers viewers a number of different channels, called “stages”, including comedy, style , music, politics and so on. Each of these channels is programmed to show clips at a certain time, but users can skip forward or go back and catch up on past programming. There are also local stages, so you can specifically watch clips in the New York politics or Los Angeles music channel. Videos can be up- and downvoted, much like stories on Reddit.

However, unlike on Reddit, votes don’t automatically equal exposure. Instead, they translate to a virtual currency, which the publisher of a video can then use to bid on future air time for other clips. The basic idea behind this: Publishers get rewarded for popular content, and programming becomes a bit of a marketplace. Think virtual stock exchange, but for content curation.

Woisio’s idea is intriguing, but the whole bidding process seems unnecessarily complicated.

The idea is kind of intriguing, especially since every user can also be a publisher. However, the whole bidding process adds an extra layer of complexity that could turn off publishers, and in turn make the whole platform much less appealing for end users.

The other problem of Woisio’s approach is that most of Woisio’s content consists of clips found on YouTube and elsewhere. Turning that kind of material into a synchronous, scheduled experience doesn’t make all that much sense, as Chill.com found out the hard way when it tried to enable real-time viewing experiences around catch-up videos from Hulu and elsewhere.

Still, Woisio may be onto something with its idea of turning curation into a game. Ayoguz told me that he eventually wants to roll out the service all over the world, and then have publishers and communities playfully compete against each other for the right to show clips on the world stage. That does sound intriguing – even if the site’s current setup doesn’t really seem ready to capture the world quite yet.

Woiso’s team of six is based in Turkey and Mountain View. The company has raised close to $1 million in seed funding, and is now looking for additional investments.

  1. Jordan Kurzweil Monday, October 1, 2012

    Doesn’t Twitter already gamify content curation? And in a simpler way? If they are a good content creator and curator, Twitter users get more rewards (aka followers, credibility, clout) which in turn makes their next publish more powerful, i.e. it goes out to a larger audience. Plus the creation/curation is not restricted to video, and the marketplace is not an adaptation of a known and broken model — a stock exchange.

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  2. Mujdat Ayoguz Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    Jordan;

    I don’t think any media outlet out there satisfies what we, at woisio, has set out to do: A simple and fair media experience.

    Search is obviously a great tool for a lot of things but when it comes to media, we think search based media discovery and consumption is a bumpy ride with too many stop and go’s. Average time spent daily on Youtube, which is around 15 Minutes, is a great indication of this broken mode today.

    Starting a search expedition in the online media jungle each time is usually too adventurous for the average user. We think content should find people not the other way around. This is the kind of simplicity and comfort we would like to establish with woisio.

    So what we built is a set of stages starting from your neighborhood, city to country and ultimately the World. All you have to do is to follow the stages you are interested in and those stages turn into a Program Guide just like you would see on TV. The rest is similar to TV experience.

    And who gets on stage, who is worthy of your attention is collectively decided by the viewers. Each user has a single vote for each content. And those votes turn to credits for publishers to bid to get on a stage. In essence, we have built a new media market where the only source of “wealth” is people’s votes.

    If you are a publisher, you will generate wealth therefore survive and thrive in this ecosystem as long as people like what you are going. If you are a viewer, you will have a smooth experience with a constant stream of content on the stages you followed from publishers you have voted for.

    BTW, woisio is not restricted to video. You can get on a stage with audio and blogas well. We think media type is immaterial compared with what is “inside” the media.

    Mujdat Ayoguz

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