nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

nScreenNoise – Rheo tackles the tyranny of choice

nScreenMedia Video Podcast

In this interview with the founders of San Francisco based startup Rheo, we discuss the ethos behind the service. We also explore how Rheo is the cure for the tyranny of choice.

Chapter 1: Why Rheo is different (0:40)

Alan Cannistraro says that Rheo is the easiest way to watch video. It provides a continuous stream of curated video. If this is the first time a viewer has used the service, it streams popular and trending videos. If the viewer has used the service, the playlist is customized to her personal preferences.

Chapter 2: Channels based on moods (1:35)

The user’s own personal stream is the place where the service starts. Users can access other content through themed channels. The channels are not organized by content provider or genre. It is organized by ‘moods.’ When a user starts Rheo, they match their current mood to channels such as ‘laugh’, or ‘learn’.

Chapter 3: How channels adapt to a viewer (2:50)

A user can watch, skip, or boost the videos they see. Rheo takes these ‘signals’ and uses them to build a profile of the of the viewers likes and dislikes. Charles Migos, Rheo’s Chief Product Officer, says Rheo also takes things like day and time into account when deciding what to play next. For example, if a viewer usually watches the ‘laugh’ channel on weekday mornings, the service learns this and automatically starts it when a viewer starts the service at that time.

Chapter 4: How the content is curated (3:50)

There is an editorial team that organizes the video that is the core of the service. One of the team’s goals is to inspire “better conversations” among users of the service by providing high quality video at exactly the right time.

Chapter 5: Fixing the tyranny of choice problem (4:50)

Since viewers don’t need to interact with the video, Rheo is acting as an ambient video source. This is how many use television today. Unlike with television, however, passive viewing provides information that helps make the Rheo experience better.

Chapter 6: How to get Rheo (6:10)

Rheo is currently available on Apple TV, and will be available on mobile devices in the spring of 2017. However, Mr. Cannistraro and Mr. Migos were clear that people’s mobile video habits are quite different from television. Rheo will reflect those differences.


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