Modern Feed: Good Idea, OK Solution

Something we heavy online video watchers could really use right now is a good web-based video aggregator where we could lean back to keep track of our favorites and find new gems. And if all goes well, we won’t be the only wackos who prefer this medium, so maybe this is even a business opportunity.

Modern Feed is a Los Angeles-based trying to tackle this need, but I’m not hopeful that it’s going to find the solution. The year-old company is coming out of stealth by announcing itself to the world on Monday. It has a promising user interface but too much funding and not enough flexibility.

Modern Feed basically connects users to an index of some 25,000 videos that have been determined to be high quality by an editorial staff. It’s a lot of TV content with some original online productions sprinkled in. The company has raised “a little less than $3 million” in angel funding and has a staff of 30, about two-thirds of which are tasked with curating content. That seems like overkill to me.

The company doesn’t currently have relationships with content owners or any monetization mechanisms on its site. Its service is quite similar to Jeff Pulver’s Prime Time Rewind, but a lot nicer looking.

“What we’re doing is really labor intensive now; you can’t just do it with algorithms,” Modern Feed founder and president J.D. Heilprin told us last week.

The main shortcomings I see here are that Modern Feed limits itself to hand-picked content and doesn’t offer personalized recommendations. I would really like to see a web player that can play all sorts of video, including anything I tell it to subscribe to and anything it thinks I might like. Modern Feed has also put significant resources into developing for the iPhone, which sounds great and all — but you really need to be on high-speed Wi-Fi to play video on an iPhone, so I don’t see the point.


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