If you ask the average web user about what video apps they use, chances are you'll get one of two answers, either YouTube or Netflix. And while Facebook has moved swiftly to add their name to that list and take an increasingly large share of video views, there's a new passel of video apps that are doing very cool things that promise to innovate the space in some ways the big guys can't.
Here's a look at five video apps that are breaking out. Each of them is unique in their own way, but there are themes in what startups are thinking, and which apps are gaining traction.
Musical.ly is a mobile music app that is growing fast. They report having 70-million users - which includes a staggering half of all American teens - and is adding millions of new users each month according to a report in Inc. Musical.ly is a video-sharing social network like Snapchat or Vine. But the power of the app is Lip-syncing. You record a video by picking a song, and then singing along. The result is a short 15-second video that is fun, and shareable. Headquartered in Shanghai, Musical.ly just raised 100 million dollars at a 500 million dollar valuation. The company calls itself a video social network and is quickly growing beyond music videos. Are "Musers" as community members call themselves, creating a new form of video expression? Download the free app and check it out for yourself.
While Musical.ly may be all the rage right now, the early leader in the lip-sync app space is certainly Dubsmash. On Dubsmash users can upload video themselves or select clips uploaded by other members. These include more than just music, from South Park to Superbad, they have tons of popular TV shows. The app was created by a small team of German developers - Jonas Druppel, Roland Grenke and Daniel Taschik and was quickly popular. As of the last reported stats, 20 million people were using Dubsmash. Part of the app's appeal is how easy it is to use. And celebrities are signing up. The Week reports that Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and Demi Moore are all using Dubsmash. But Musical.ly appears to be winning the lip-sync battle here, with more money, traction, and buzz than the somewhat older Dubsmash.
Triller began it's life as a music video maker. It's free, easy to use, and fun. You to create a video by taking a snippet of a song, adding a video filter and recording a video. Triller Famous is a section on the app that features a curated selection of the best user-submitted video. Triller is growing into social network, allowing users to follow and be followed. The app allows you to shoot multiple angles and pov's of your videos, and then auto-magically edits them together into a surprisingly charming music video.
If Music.ly, Dubsmash, and Triller are all social apps that are driven by lip-syncing and social networking... Vidme has a very different heritage.
Vidme has its roots in Reddit. Think if it sort of like an imgur for video. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is an investor. Part of what makes Vidme unique is that it allows for anonymous posting, much like Reddit does. To upload to most sites like YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook, you need to have an identity. But Vidme doesn't require users to register with their social profiles, email addresses or phone numbers. All it requires a username and password when signing up. Vide is sorted into categories - like Animation, Awesome, Aww, Drones, Funny, Trees, and WTF - what you'd expect from a Reddit-like video site. Techcrunch reports that Vidme has raised $3.2 million in funding. As of last report, they were seeing 30 million unique visits a month.
The last entry in the new video app space is "Channel"
It's a bit hard to say what channel will be since it isn't launched yet. But it's "coming soon" website is fraught with promise. The site's 'about' page offers a few clues. " We've set out to build the app for watching videos on your phone: vertical, edited down to the good bits and set at your own pace, so you can watch quickly, skip ahead or be fully immersed." That could mean almost anything. But Channel is being created by Swipe Labs - and they've raised 8.2 million to work on phone based content products. They're rational " A good video experience on mobile doesn't exist yet. We're building Channel to create the best experience for watching stories on your phone. We believe short, high-quality videos of the things you love will make for the most entertaining app on your phone."
Of course, there are lots of video apps out there. Tout, Klip, Mixbit still on the scene -and there more on the way. But one thing is clear, the combination of mobile and video isn't slowing down, and the app innovation in the space is sure to drive more users, more engagement, and more investment. So, stay tuned.