Startup Looks to Build Pinterest for Video

London-based Rockpack says it can lick medium's discovery challenge

There is a seemingly a never-ending supply of video online—which means that finding stuff is hard.

One startup is looking to solve the Web’s increasing discovery problem, while also tapping into the Pinterestization of the Web—the consumer trend toward expressing one’s self through images and videos, particularly of brands and media companies.

The British company Rockpack, backed by just a few million in funding, is set to unveil a video curation platform designed to help users sift through the vast sea of Internet video, while also theoretically helping more quality content to rise to the top.

Via an iPad app, users can create custom video channels, which they can dress up with themed imagery and even personal Instagram photos. Think a channel focused on one’s top gaming personalities or their kid's favorite bands. While surfing the Web, users can continue to add clips to their channels with a click of their mouse.

Plus, users can subscribe to other people’s channels and, of course, share channels with their own personal networks on Facebook and Twitter. There will be thousands of pre-baked Rockpack channels available at launch.

As an actor in Rockpack’s demo video explains the promise, “I never feel like I’m searching for videos. I just find them.”

Among Rockpack’s initial partners are CollegeHumor, National Geographic, Universal Music, Warner Bros. and Topshop. The company is touting its ability to help these firms monetize their content on the Web, during a time when many are questioning YouTube’s ability to do so. But CEO Sofia Fenichell emphasized that that Rockpack is complementary to YouTube (while perhaps subtly tweaking its faults).

“I feel like the social economy has peaked,” said Fenichell. “There is too much content and it needs curation. With our product, you are that curator, and it’s not algorithm based. Some companies are saying they are the video Pinterest … but you need regular people to do that. We offer simple features to do so. And this is not about user-generated content. It’s about windowed [professional] content.”

However, a big question hanging over Rockpack is, are the billion or so folks out there who use YouTube as a search engine inclined to put that much effort into video curation and discovery? 

“Right now, on YouTube, it’s really hard to subscribe,” said Fenichell. “You have to sign in; it never works. With this, it’s easy. You can use Facebook Connect. And you get that ego boost [from sharing]. You can be as active as you want to be.”

Rockpack wants to get advertisers active early. But the company is shying away from traditional ads and pre-rolls. Instead, the hope is to entice brands with channel sponsorships and influencer marketing efforts.