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Showyou Going Off the Air Sunday

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As we announced on our blog last month, Showyou was acquired in December 2015 by Vevo. We are incredibly excited to help make Vevo the very best place on the Internet for music fans to watch and listen to the music they love and connect with their favorite artists.

But to do that we will discontinue operation of the Showyou service this Sunday so that we can apply all our energy towards making the Vevo apps and service as awesome as possible. We notified the registered users of Showyou of this change several weeks ago, but thought we should also post a notice here in the event you turn on Showyou next week and are wondering what’s going on.

We’re proud of Showyou and what we built, and sad this chapter is coming to a close. For those of you who have come to depend on Showyou for your daily dose of entertainment and information we’d like to recommend the following worthy substitutes: Pocket (great for bookmarking videos and articles); Flipboard (great way to discover media through social connections on your phone or tablet); and of course YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and Twitter. And if you love music and music videos, we hope you’ll try out the Vevo app and service if you haven’t already done that.

We appreciate everyone who downloaded Showyou on their phones and tablets, or used our service on the web. Thank you for your support over the past four years.

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Hello, Vevo!

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Hello from the other side

Let me get right to it: we are excited to announce that Showyou has been bought by Vevo, the online music video giant with over 12 billion monthly views of its music video and entertainment programming.

This is a big step for us. When we first launched Showyou in the spring of 2011, we had one simple goal: to give people on smartphones and tablets better and easier ways to find and watch the videos they love. We iterated constantly and worked hard to improve the app and service over the following years. We’re proud Showyou was featured in best-of lists from Apple in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, and that it was consistently included in various “best apps” lists from leading tech reviewers at The Verge, TechCrunch, Wired, ABC News, and the Huffington Post.

In 2014, we expanded our horizons and began work towards a second crucial goal – to give creators and artists  better ways to make money with their fans, and while remaining respectful of their fans, through the Showyou apps and services. We set about making Showyou a platform, not just an app.

We launched a pilot effort with two subscription channels from Above Average and IndieFlix in late 2014 . We spent most of 2015 expanding that platform and had just launched a wave of new tools this past July when we began talking to Erik Huggers and his team at Vevo and realized that we were looking at the world the same way and shared many of the same goals.

It’s obvious that how we find and consume entertainment is drastically changing. We now take it for granted that we get to watch what we want, when we want, on the device we want. But the shockwaves from that change are still rippling out and rumbling through the media ecosystem and will for years to come. Some old services are crumbling, and Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon have become daily habits for tens of millions of people.

In many ways, we are still at the beginning of this shift. It’s a bit like a game of musical chairs, with only 4 of 10 chairs filled. Vevo has the rare opportunity to contend for one of remaining slots, to become one of the services millions of us use everyday. That got our attention. We’re excited for this next chapter, and the opportunity to work with the Vevo team to build great products that reach huge audiences around the world. Thanks to Erik and everyone on his team for that.

One of the very best things about startup life is the chance to work on products you’re proud of, and to be surrounded by people you respect and trust and enjoy. I can’t finish this post without a word of thanks to all of them.

For me, that starts with Toni Schneider. I met Toni 9 years ago having just moved from London to San Francisco, when I knew only a couple of people here and when all I had was an idea on a piece of paper. Toni provided good counsel and calmness and generosity at every step of this journey. He helped us to turn nothing into something, and led us to the best investors an entrepreneur could ever want, the team at True Ventures. Huge thanks to Phil Black, Jon Callaghan, Jim Stewart and the talented and generous team at True for their counsel, friendship and support.

It was my good fortune that I got to start the company with two talented and very dedicated co-founders, Scott Persinger and Spencer Miles. Kyle Kingsbury, Taz Patel, Kate Imbach, Hasan Adil and Ben Kim made essential contributions at key points.  Janet Hall, my partner in life as well as this adventure, was the best volunteer COO any startup could ever want and made sure everything ran smoothly. And I was lucky, happy and proud to call Andy Forssell my boss the last twelve months. His guidance and leadership was essential in this this final phase.

To the Showyou team continuing on with Vevo – Phil, Justin, John, Grant, Zack, and Dugan – it’s been a real pleasure building Showyou with you and I’m excited we get to continue making products together. Let’s go build something great with our new colleagues at Vevo.

Onwards,

MH

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Some Love for Those Big Phones

Ever since we launched Showyou, we’ve been focused on helping you to find something great to watch. Showyou’s job is to entertain and inform you, whether you’ve got a few minutes to kill or an hour to spend. We do that by connecting you with channels you love, pulling in videos recommended by people you know and trust, and using the wisdom of the crowd to build a playlist personalized just for you that is fresh and new every time you open our app.

Through relentless iteration over the years we’ve worked to make Showyou more fun, easier, and more efficient. With those goals in mind, we’ve been working hard the past couple of months on a brand new version of Showyou for the iPad and iPhone and we’re excited to share it today.

All landscape, all the time

All landscape, all the time

First, you can now use Showyou in portrait or landscape on your phone. Most video apps (including ours, until today) force you to rotate back-and-forth between portrait (to browse) and landscape (to watch). Even though it’s a pain for users to have to do this constant toggling between landscape and portrait, most apps haven’t bothered to offer full support for landscape for a reason — it’s hard, painstaking work to get every screen right, particularly now that there are so many screen sizes.

But what a difference it makes! With this new version of Showyou, the experience on the phone is now closer to what we’ve always offered on the iPad. Sit back and settle into a comfortable chair with your phone, turn it to landscape, and seamlessly switch from browsing to watching. It’s a fantastic new feature for anyone who uses Showyou on the iPhone; for those of you who have the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6+ you’ll find that the new Showyou is especially glorious.

Beautiful browsing

Beautiful browsing

If you’re watching a video, and you want to share it, or add it to watch later, or just browse a little more, we’ve made that a whole lot easier and more seamless. Just tap on a video in full screen and we’ll take you to a nifty new carousel view (on both the iPhone and iPad, in portrait or landscape). While you continue to watch, you’ll see controls for the video, buttons for interacting with it, and a peek at the videos before and after the one you’re watching. Tap on the video to go back to full screen. Or swipe to move back or forward within the feed or channel you’re viewing. When you’ve found the next video you want to watch, tap it to play.

We don’t think there’s a better browsing and watching experience to be had on your phone or tablet. But improving that experience is a never ending mission, so please let us know what you think and help us to make it even better.

Dive deep when you want

Dive deep when you want

When you’re in the new carousel mode, you’ll see a new “related videos” button. Say, for example, you’ve come across an a great David Attenborough video about lemur monkeys in one of your feeds or channels and you need to see more lemur videos right now. Just tap the related videos button, and voila, a carousel full of lemur monkey videos for you to feast on.

It’s a great, fun way to continue exploring with a simple tap of your finger. You’ll be amazed how many videos there are on just about everything on the Internet, and how many of them you can watch through Showyou. Be sure to have some cheetos, kale, quinoa, and other healthy snacks by your side while you binge.

There are dozens of other improvements large and small. We’re proud of this release, but we’re constantly striving towards perfection and we’re totally committed to making Showyou better… and better… and better. So don’t be shy, let us know what you think — feedback@showyou.com.

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Back to Building Things . . .

Thanks, Mark, for the kind introduction.

It’s been 7 years since Hulu launched and since Netflix started streaming, and 9 years since YouTube launched. On the internet, time spans that long are practically an eternity, so a casual observer might easily conclude that IP-delivered video is in a pretty mature state. But they’d be dead wrong.

These are still the early days.

We’re convinced that, when we look back ten or fifteen years from now, it will be clear that a ton of innovation and new services were still ahead of us . . . that many of what will then be the top brands that viewers love and respect had yet to make their mark in 2014.

In many ways, today is a golden age for entertainment lovers. Better content on cable and broadcast than ever. New shows and movies being created or commissioned by Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Crackle and others. Unbelievable amounts of creativity being unleashed on YouTube. New formats for expression like Vine. From all those and many other sources, great content options are available for a viewer on practically any device with a screen.

But there are counterpoints to all that goodness. Despite all that wealth of content, as a viewer it can still be really hard to find something that you want to watch right now. It’s still too common to spend twenty minutes on a service looking for something good, sampling a few things, and coming away feeling like you’ve wasted your time.

And as a content creator, although there are a wealth of options out there for distribution compared to a few years ago, there are still plenty of challenges. First of all, there is the one unalterable truth: it’s really, really hard to make something that is truly good. It takes real creativity and inspiration, followed by the many challenges of executing in a way that delivers on that inspiration. That’s really hard, and no amount of technology can change that. For creators who succeed in that quest, their reward is to then face the complex distribution landscape that confronts them today. That landscape is full of options, but the wealth of options doesn’t change another tough truth: It’s still very hard to make real money. Not impossible. Much better than it was 5 years ago. But still too hard.

Both the opportunities and the challenges of that landscape are incredibly intriguing to us, because we’re convinced that a far better future for both viewers and content creators will emerge in the next few years. More creativity will be unleashed, better services will emerge that connect viewers with content they love, and more creators will be able to earn a great return on their creativity.

That’s going to take a lot of innovation. I’ve spent a good bit of time since leaving Hulu looking for the best way to help drive that innovation, and I’m really excited to have found the perfect place to do it: Showyou. I’m joining a fantastic team with great creative talent and the determined desire to help build things that make user experiences better and better, relentlessly (rinse and repeat).

These are definitely still the early days. Just as the late seventies and eighties saw the birth of so many great cable channel brands and distributor brands which occupied a big chunk of consumers’ mindsets for the following couple of decades, we’re now living through the early innings of the IP-era for entertainment. And a new set of services and “channel” brands will be born, on new platforms and with new capabilities. A lot of great things lie ahead for everyone who loves great content, and the Showyou team and I look forward to being in the thick of it.

-Andy

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Welcome Andy!

Two months ago, we wrote:

Television is changing.

Over the next 4-5 years, nearly 1 billion televisions will get connected to the Internet via game consoles, devices like the Roku, AppleTV and Chromecast, and smart TVs. And another billion screens – laptops, tablets, smartphones, all connected to broadband — are now being used as portable televisions.

We think there is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a new kind of media company and platform given those changes. Over the past three years, we’ve patiently laid the foundation for such a service, starting with our award-winning Showyou apps for the iPad and iPhone in 2011 and building out from there. With the launch of our Showyou Channel Platform in October, we now have a modern, end-to-end video service that can help viewers find programming they love, and help creators make money.

But we knew all along that to build a significant, enduring company that we needed help. So we set out on a quest to find someone with that rare combination of strategic vision, product savvy, operational excellence and deep knowledge of the entertainment industry; someone who could help us to build on the foundation we’ve laid and make Showyou an even more compelling service for both viewers and creators; someone who could help us to take a small startup and turn it into a great and enduring business.

With those requirements, we set the bar extremely high. We even wondered if there was anyone who could do all of these things, let alone do them all well. Luckily for us, we met and have gotten to know one person who exceeded our high expectations: Andy Forssell. We persuaded Andy to join our cause, and are thrilled to announce that he has joined Showyou as CEO.

Andy was one of a few key executives who guided Hulu throughout its meteoric rise. He started as SVP of Content and Distribution when it had just a handful of employees and spent more than 6 years building and growing the Hulu free service as well as the Hulu Plus subscription service. Andy served as acting CEO for most of 2013, a year in which Hulu generated more than a billion dollars in revenue with a team of more than 700 people. He is one of the most talented and creative executives we’ve ever met and knows as much about the television and online video space as anyone we know.

Welcome Andy – all of us on the Showyou team are honored to have a chance to work with you! And now over to you Andy

-Mark

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Reinventing TV

Television is changing. 

all-the-platforms

Over the next 4-5 years, nearly 1 billion televisions will get connected to the Internet via game consoles, devices like the Roku, AppleTV and Chromecast, and smart TVs. And another billion screens – laptops, tablets, smartphones, all connected to broadband — are now being used as portable televisions. 

With this combination — the connection of the traditional TV to the Internet, and the addition of new portable broadband-connected screens that can function like a TV — people around the world now have new ways to watch and new things to watch. Netflix is the first company to build a significant, deep business around this change, but there will be others.

Including Showyou. Today we’re launching two related, and significant, products that we hope will change the way we watch television and what we watch:

A new self-service subscription platform that lets creators everywhere and anywhere build a subscription-supported video channel on Showyou; and

A channel store, where fans can directly support the creators on our new platform by buying a subscriptions to the channels they’ve launched.

 

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With the Showyou Channel Platform, creators and publishers around the world can now build ad-free subscription channels that are directly supported by their fans. Building a channel with our tools is as easy as setting up your Facebook page or Twitter profile. Fans can stream and watch these channels in  “lean-back” mode, just like a regular TV channel; or they can lean forward, and browse the channel to find just the film or video they want to watch.

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Channels built on our subscription platform will be available through our new Channel Store.  The Showyou Channel Store will be available via our iOS apps and our website to start, and we’ll bring it to our other apps over the coming months. Fans anywhere in the world can buy a subscription and directly support the channels they love. No messy bundles, no unwanted channels, no ads.

To give creators everywhere a sense of what’s possible, we’re extremely pleased to also announce our first two subscription channels, IndieFlix and Above Average.

profile-iphone-ipad IndieFlix, founded by filmmakers, offers more than 5,000 films selected from film festival award winners, experimental new features, classic and iconic indies, across genres and with a variety of lengths. IndieFlix connects viewers to movies that will transport us to new worlds, reach deep into our hearts, shock us, stay on our minds for days, or simply make us laugh until we cry.

aboveaverage-iphone-handAbove Average is the online comedy network from Broadway Video, the production company behind Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, Portlandia, and more.  Featuring hit series including “Sound Advice” with Vanessa Bayer, “7 Minutes in Heaven” with Mike O’Brien, and “The Idiot’s Guide to Smart People,” Above Average brings you some of the best comedy series and videos on the web. 

We’re proud to launch with IndieFlix and Above Average today. Not only do they each bring great, ad-free programming to their fans, they also allow us to imagine how our new platform could be used and where this might lead us. Whether you’re a publisher with a library of 10,000 films, or a YouTube creator, Showyou offers a new place to reach your fans; to offer them a beautiful, engaging way to watch your programming; and to make a living without having to rely (or solely rely) on advertising.

We’re excited to see what talented creators make on this new platform with us. 

Welcome.

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Showyou on the TV

This morning we’re announcing the release of Showyou on the FireTV.

firetv-8-user-menuThis is the first native TV app we’ve released, and joins our family of iOS, Android and web apps. We think the new Showyou FireTV app neatly illustrates how television should work in this new Internet-connected era. Like your current TV, you can just turn the Showyou app on, sit back, and watch. Unlike your current TV, the Showyou app for the FireTV is smartly personalized.

In addition to the new FireTV apps, we’ve released Showyou on the Kindle Fire. And, we have launched new versions of our iOS and Android apps with improved support for Chromecast, including improved second-screen support with the ability to browse your feed and the app while watching videos on your TV.

Stay tuned — there is more to come.

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