With almost 30 million users and major buzz for closing a $30 million financing round, Viddy lets users take and share bite-sized videos of 15 seconds or less. Viddy was launched one year ago and gained attention for its celebrity backers like Jay-Z, and celebrity users like Snoop Dogg. Available free for the iPhone and iPad, it is the iTunes app of the week for 12 May 2012 and one of the fastest growing apps around. Promises of an Android version will be under increased pressure to come true, although if I was Google, I would just buy them now.
Inevitably referred to as the Instagram for video due to the easy to add visual effects, soundtracks and other features in their Production Packs, Viddy got a huge boost last month when Facebook began highlighting them (and rival service, Socialcam). No post fails to mention that the fairly private Mark Zuckerberg uploaded a viddy of his dog. Even without the FB love, acquisition as a business model seems more lucrative right now than potential millions from in-app sales of premium Production Packs. I think someone will buy them soon.
So why should brands care about Viddy? First, I think the 15 second format has a lot to teach us. Like Twitter, it enforces message discipline. Plus, it is another wide open focus group to follow what what users are doing with video. Southwest Airlines ran a contest around Sundance Film Festival time. Early adopter General Electric has also hopped on. For Mother’s Day today in the USA, Viddy teamed up with the National Breast Cancer Foundation to encourage users to post a ‘Thank You’ viddy for their moms, similar to their support for Movember. Celebrities as early adopters doesn’t hurt a start-up, but also reminds us that brand ambassadors have never been more in control of their own image, for better or worse. Add Viddy to the list for VIP social media training. While adult content is an au naturel risk with any video platform, there are lots of G-rated possibilities. Clean cut newscasters like Katie Couric are trying the platform and American TV icon Bill Cosby seems quite at home on the tiny screen. Even Disney partnered with Viddy to promote The Muppets. So grab your iPhone and your cat and give Viddy a try.
Candace Kuss is the Executive Creative Director, Interactive Lab, Hill+Knowlton Strategies and a regular contributor to the H+K UK blog.