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Hyper, the Mic-owned app for curated videos, comes to iPhones

TechCrunch TechCrunch 30/06/2016 Anthony Ha

Hyper founder and CEO Markus Gilles said he has a simple goal — to create “the single best video app.”

We covered the company last August when it launched its first app on the iPad. Since then, it’s been acquired by millennial-focused publisher Mic, but it’s still going after that big goal — and today, it’s launching on the iPhone.

Particularly with this new version, Gilles argued that Hyper is solving three of the biggest problems with watching videos on your phone.

First, there’s the fact that you don’t always want to spend “50 minutes browsing” on YouTube before you find something worth watching. Second, when you stream videos over a cell network, you might end up struggling with low video quality, buffering delays and aggressive data usage. Finally, Gilles said that many video apps don’t have a great design, so the goal with Hyper was to offer a “design that was not cluttered, that put video at the center of every interaction.”

Like Hyper on the iPad, the new app offers each user a daily playlist of 10 videos. According to Gilles, there are now 30 or so videos selected every day, with each user seeing a subset of 10 based on their own interests, and based on the publishers and creators they’ve subscribed to within the app. (If you’ve subscribed to a creator, you also get a notification whenever one of their videos is added to the app.)

“We’re using a human curation approach, with a team of filmmakers and journalists who really kind of separate the signal from the noise,” Gilles said. “They distill [hundreds of videos] down to a daily playlist … where everything should be something you don’t regret you watched.”

When you’re in the app, you can browse the playlist by looking at brief, silent trailers on the main page. Then, when you find one you want to watch, you can tap and it should play instantly — the app will have download all the videos on your playlist over WiFi in advance, so that you can watch offline without worrying about delays or data usage.

That might not be how it works for you right away, though. Gilles said offline viewing won’t be available to all viewers immediately, but the goal is to “eventually cross the bridge to be 100 percent offline.”

In order to enable these offline capabilities, Hyper has also partnered with a number of publishers, including Condé Nast Entertainment (publisher of Vogue,The New Yorker, Wired and others), Refinery29, Mashable, Fusion and Elite Daily. And there will be videos from the Mic team as well.

“We keep a separation of our editorial and Mic’s production that is very important to us,” Gilles said. “Mic doesn’t have a free pass to be featured, but we as an independent team have featured Mic videos before.”

He added that for publishers, the Hyper app is a “premium context” for their videos, where they’re not placed “side-by-side with a gazillion videos on YouTube.”

“We don’t want to be catering to everyone in the entire world,” he said. “We don’t have cat videos in there — as much as we like them, there are other places that have that covered.”

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