Behind Verizon’s Magical Video-Search App viewdini™
When the folks at Verizon Wireless first started developing a new video-search app, they knew they didn’t want Verizon in the name. (Shocking, we know, considering the network is recognized for names such as Verizon Video and VZ Navigator). Instead, they wanted to find a name that would bring to life the app’s video-aggregating capabilities on 4G LTE devices.
What started out as Orion (implying a universe of content) was finally dubbed viewdini, a service that magically brings together a variety of content from different apps, services and cable providers.
And that’s what makes viewdini so unique. It’s not about Verizon (though its 4G LTE network offerings are pretty awesome); it’s about Verizon’s partnerships with 12 (so far) apps, services and cable providers that work together to offer customers the ultimate entertainment experience.
We caught up with Kristi Crum, Executive Director of Consumer Solutions at Verizon, to ask how viewdini came about, why Verizon customers will love it and what’s in store for the future.
- What was the inspiration for viewdini?
The inspiration was the feedback we received from customers.
We realized that when we first launched 4G LTE, movies were really one of those new ways to leverage 4G LTE. So, we went out and we made a lot of deals with the video-streaming services. We made a deal with Netflix to make sure we had that on devices, and we made a deal with Blockbuster to make sure that was on devices. But we realized we really hadn’t solved anything for the customer, other than we preloaded all of these applications on the devices. The customer was saying, “Thank you, I want to watch movies, but I’m just confused why I need all of these different services.”
What we wanted to do was to eliminate the clutter and really help [customers] find the pieces of content. We wanted to put one application on your device that will help you find the content you want and the application that you need to watch it.
- Tell us how viewdini works.
With viewdini, we bring all of the content to one place, and we also let you select where you want to purchase it from. So if you have a relationship with Netflix, you would select to go with Netflix. If you have a relationship with Hulu, you may choose to go with Hulu. And in some instances, you just want to watch a TV episode that may be free on the web.
Another thing that Verizon [4G LTE] customers will really like is the fact that viewdini offers all the related information about a particular piece of content. In most cases, a person would need to maybe download the IMDB application to find out the cast and crew information, the other movies an actor was in, how a movie is rated, etc.
To get all those details, you have to do a lot of homework or download multiple apps, but viewdini makes all of that very possible from one application.
- How is viewdini unique compared to other video aggregators?
Viewdini is different from other aggregators out there because it has all types of content. We don’t focus on just movies or TV shows. We have movies, TV shows, web content and more. We also have relationships with our cable providers, so you’ll see XFINITY content in there, as well as FiOS content.
We’re allowing you to bring all your relationships to one place, and there’s no other aggregator that does that today that has the breadth of the relationships as well as the breadth of content. You can find movies from the latest and greatest, all the way back to Caddyshack and some of the other fun, early ’80s movies.
- Tell us about your content partnerships, specifically with TV.com, whose name appears next to viewdini in the app.
TV.com is helping us in the background sort out all of the information. There’s all kinds of data on the back end, whether it’s movie titles, images associated with those titles, cast and crew information, related movie information, clips, trailers, and more. TV.com is helping us make sense of that.
The other partners are the players who are bringing us their great content—Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc. Customers want their content, and these partners are really looking for a way to connect differently to customers.
So, that’s the power of what viewdini is able to do. What [Verizon] wanted to do was to put one application on your device that will help you find the content you want and the application you need to watch it.
- What’s your favorite feature of viewdini?
I love the ability to be able to use it as a search tool. I’m a big How I Met Your Mother fan, and I go to Neil Patrick Harris’ page and I see that he was in Doogie Howser, M.D., and I also see that he was in The Smurfs. It’s really funny to see all the different movies that these actors and actresses have been in.
Are there any new features planned for the future?
We’re really excited to actually launch the app, because we have so many new features coming! We’re ready to move to the next big thing on viewdini.
We have another release that’s coming very soon, and we’re going to continue to play upon that. Obviously, we love to hear from customers on what they’re looking for, but we’re certainly working very quickly to bring in more features on the app.
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Hollywood’s Heartthrob Turns App Investor
Photo credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Leonardo DiCaprio has been one of Hollywood’s biggest heartthrobs since his performance in Titanic, and he has preserved his reputation as a worthy actor with other hit films such as Inception, The Departed and Catch Me If You Can. But DiCaprio is switching gears from show business—whether it be for a side gig or a change in career—by investing $4 million in the app Mobli.
Going off of the tagline, "See the world through other people’s eyes," Mobli is a social network where users can share photos and videos, and the app automatically tags each post with a location or major event in the surrounding area. Users can also follow channels that display photos about a particular topic, such as Leo himself.
Mobli CEO Moshe Hogeg told The Huffington Post in October 2011 that Leo’s not much of a tech guy, but he is very excited to be involved in the marketing aspect of the app. “He believes in the vision of the company and thinks that this is the future of media. He wanted to get on board in the beginning, influence it, and give his input into the company.”