Former Admeld CTO Sets His Sights On Streaming Video With MightyTV Launch

MightyTVYou know how sometimes you just want to watch a movie without having to log in and scan the catalogs of every streaming video portal? Enter MightyTV, which came out of beta on Wednesday.

The startup, from Admeld founder and former CTO Brian Adams, is a free discovery app for iOS that allows users to filter through TV and movie content from Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, iTunes, Cinemax, Showtime and Lifetime without having to switch between platforms.

The fragmented video ecosystem leads to some pretty wonky navigation, said Adams, who spent a little over three years as product chief at Google after it snapped up Admeld for $400 million in 2011.

“Cord cutters know how to do video discovery – they get a couple of devices out, open a bunch of browser tabs and apps and then spend a lot of time cross-referencing data points and services,” Adams said. “It’s possible to do, it’s just kind of painful.”

MightyTV has 11,000 videos available to search in its inventory, although it’s looking to grow that number. That said, the cutters of cords still have to subscribe to multiple streaming services to actually watch the content once they’ve found it.

That’s just the nature of the beast, at least for now.

“There were decades when cable TV was the front door to premium content and there was a lot not to like about it, but cable did provide one easy way to access a lot of stuff,” Adams said. “I’ve been streaming since 2008 and I’ll never go back, but it’s also true that we’ve lost some of the convenience of cable.”

The MightyTV app provides a Tinder-like experience. Users are presented with one piece of video content at a time, swiping right to like it and left to give it a thumbs down. With each swipe, Mighty’s algorithm gets a little smarter about the individual’s preferences and provides recommendations on what to watch accordingly.

Whereas Netflix’s recommendation algorithm enables super-granular genre-based suggestions – things like “a strong female lead in the Irish countryside” or “emotional independent drama for hopeless romantics” – MightyTV's rec engine creates individual user profiles based on behavior and taste rather than category.

Although Mighty does give genre some weight, the goal is to be predictive about a user’s inclinations rather than fenced in by what that person has viewed in the past.

“We’re not trying to figure out if you love rom coms and then hit you with a lot of rom coms,” Adams said. “We’re trying to create an individual taste profile for each person who uses us.”

MightyTV is also looking to help fix what Adams jokingly referred to as “the digital divorce.”

“One insight that came out of our user interviews is that a lot of couples have stopped watching together because they can’t agree on what to watch,” Adams said. “One person might be watching on their phone with their headphones on and the other person is lying on the bed watching TV.”

BrianAdamsMightyTVThe app aims to solve for the couple or group viewing scenario with a feature called Mashup that allows up to 10 users to combine the insights gathered via their swipes into a collective video playlist that only includes suggestions that could make sense as viewing material for everyone in the crew. Users have to sign up through Facebook if they want to share their lists.

It’s also about surfacing the so-called “hidden gems,” Adams said, the stuff you wouldn’t necessarily even know you were into until it was presented to you.

If a friend happens to watch a really interesting and obscure documentary, for example, mashing your profiles together will cause it to also come up as a recommendation for you – if it makes sense based on what the app knows about your personal tastes.

For now, the focus will be on honing the video personalization piece rather than monetization. “It’s not immediately about making money,” Adams said. There’s also no plan at the moment to do anything with the trove of preference data it’s collecting other than to keep training the recommendation algorithm.

“Every day there’s a new place to get OTT and billions of dollars are being invested in original content, but for the end user the world is becoming increasingly fragmented,” Adams said. “The content is diverse and there’s just no easy way to manage it all.”

MightyTV raised $2.5 million in seed capital from Spark (also an Admeld backer) and Canaan Venture Partners in 2015, and it has plans to pursue another funding round now that the product is launched.

Adams isn’t the only Admeld vet to get entrepreneurial with a new company post-Google. After a little over three years with Google, former Admeld president and CEO Ben Barokas founded anti-ad-blocking company Sourcepoint in June.

 

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