Posted on May 10, 2018 by staff

AI app wants to be ‘YouTube’s best friend’


The future of video will be a richer experience than is currently available says Wattl co-founder Emma Ryan.

Ryan, along with her husband Matthew, launched the AI viral video platform in January this year.

“We see our product as the future– it brings together professional content makers so we want things like the BBC, ITV, Netflix and Amazon Prime mixed in with the social user-generated content you find on Instagram stories and YouTube vlogs,” she told BusinessCloud.

“For example if you just watched a Stranger Things episode then around it on the platform you’d have vlogs because people who love the show make vlogs and have chosen to put the video there. It makes it powerful watching relevant stuff and all the actors’ stories around it.

“It’s about a rich video experience – instead of sitting and watching one show on telly you’ve got all the social video going on in the same place.

“You don’t have to close Instagram and go to Netflix then YouTube, although we’re not trying to replace those – they might even pay to use our platform in the future and we’ll have them all on there.”

This type of all-encompassing experience currently doesn’t exist says Ryan, who insists the team is not trying to take on the big players like YouTube but offer something different.

“We’re trying to be YouTube’s best friend, not replace it – there are millions of videos out there so it’s all about content discovery,” she said.

“It’s about how do you find something you want to watch and that’s relevant to you?”

The Manchester-based company came out of an idea the pair had 10 years ago based around a massive digital wall where users could go on and leave a mark like graffiti. Then – just like in the real world where the council comes and paint over it – the site would delete it.

Since then they started their own digital agency and have worked on projects like the BBC’s Android sport app.

“We thought well now we have smartphones and video, imagine a massive video wall where you can see loads of videos from all over the world and get your voice heard wherever you are,” said Ryan.

“Then it would delete and new stuff would arrive every day.”

The app, which is currently only available for iPhone with an Android release in development – uses AI to analyse uploaded content for keywords that allows users to search for content on a video grid.

“Using AI to determine how popular a trending video is on the wall is a critical feature as only popular and trending videos stay on the wall, although ultimately everything deletes so we’re always giving fresh content,” she said.

“Artificial intelligence is definitely going to transform the way we get content because there’s just so much of it out there – it needs to come in and help us filter it through, so we see all the media outlets and websites and apps taking on board much more AI in future.”