Back in June we introduced you to ShortForm, a new online video entertainment site that lets viewers sit back and watch a continuous stream of web video in a variety of categories, including funny, cute, weird and more. Since ShortForm’s launch, the site has grown and changed quite a bit, mainly with the incorporation of VJ-curated channels, and now they’re taking ShortForm to a new social level with the addition of new features including a Newsfeed, a Channel Creation Guide that makes it easy for users to start their own channels, and a ‘ShortForm It!’ bookmarklet that will make it easier for users to add videos to their channels.
I had the opportunity to ask ShortForm’s CEO and co-founder Nader Ghaffari some questions about the ShortForm’s new social features, as well as the growth and development of the site in general. Find out what he had to say in the interview below.
Megan at Social Times: When ShortForm first launched there were only a few channels that were curated by company algorithms (i.e. HaHa Funny, Super Cute, Feel Good, etc.). Not that you’ve got channels curated by others do you still have your original channels or is it all VJ’d now?
Nader Ghaffari: Yes, we still VJ (curate) our own channels like Haha Funny, Super Cute, Feel Good, Facebook Hits, etc. [Megan’s note: These channels can be found in the ‘Channels’ tab, directly beneath the video player, or you can find them by searching the Channel Guide for the most subscribed of all time. They show up on top.] Our channels are what I consider to be what 80% of the population will like, the mainstream type of stuff. However, the majority of our channels are now being curated and mixed by our community of VJs. We have delivered a new online asset to people, and we have a growing community of VJs that are curating/mixing channels of their favorite content or channels around specific subjects. Our VJs can be typical people who create channels around their favorite videos or bloggers/publishers who are curating channels around specific subjects.
Megan: Was the site in its current form always the intent, or have you just gone with the flow and seen where it took you? What inspired you to go the VJ route?
Nader: During our public beta over the summer we learned that entertainment is really about expression and while algorithms can create interesting/good channels, the best channels would be created if we opened up ShortForm to the world and let people express themselves as VJs, mixing and sharing their favorite videos in channels. We have seen over 100K visitors come to ShortForm over the last month as a result of VJs creating and sharing their channels.
Megan: Can you give us any hints about the features you’ve got in development?
Nader: Last week we launched the ShortForm Newsfeed that is prominently featured on the watch screen and surfaces real-time activity by Viewers and VJs. Later this week we will launch a new Channel Creation Guide on landing that makes it quick and easy for new visitors to become VJs. A simple step-by-step flow enables visitors to collect, mix, and share their own, unique ShortForm channel in just a few minutes. Later this week we are also launching a bookmarklet called “ShortForm It!” that will allow VJs to automatically add videos to their channels as they are surfing around the web.
We also have a number of other features in development to be announced shortly that will make it easier for viewers to navigate and find channels of interest through a search capability, and will enable VJs to take their channels to the distributed web via an embeddable ShortForm widget that they can put on their blog or website.
The addition of VJ curated channels, the new newsfeed, the bookmarklet and other features that will be added this week or in the near future show that ShortForm is headed in the right direction. I liked them from the start, and everything that they are doing seems like it has and will make the site more social, more user friendly, and all-around more popular. I’m excited to see how ShortForm continues to grow and develop.
Have you used ShortForm to curate your own channel or to watch the video channels of others? What do you think of the service?