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YouNow, a new online video entertainment startup, is crowdsourcing online video content curation, giving viewers the chance to decide who gets the spotlight and who gets the boot. The company presented yesterday at TechCrunch Disrupt.
YouNow gives anyone the opportunity to broadcast live, but once a performer begins streaming live they only get one minute to convince the audience that they are worth watching. During their performance, viewers can give them a thumbs up or a thumbs down. If they get more thumbs ups than thumbs downs then they get another minute. If they get more thumbs downs, they’re outta there, and may even wind up with a face full of rotten tomatoes! MG Siegler of TechCrunch puts it perfectly, saying that YouNow is what you get if you take YouTube and add The Gong Show to the mix.
Founder and CEO, Adi Sideman, presented YouNow yesterday on the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield. Sideman describes YouNow as “live broadcast meets social gaming.” He explains that performers can broadcast live from anywhere, using any webcam or mobile device. He explains that there are incentives, levels and points to be earned for performers that are confident enough to go up against the YouNow audience. For instance, they are currently running a competition with MP3.com in which the top performing artists will be featured on the MP3.com homepage.
YouNow is a pretty cool concept, in my opinion, and it will be interesting to see how it takes off. I think that YouNow’s success will be dependant, in large part, on the quality of the performers that sign up to broadcast, but competitions with third-party sites like MP3.com will hopefully lead to some quality content and serious competition, as musicians and other performers go head to head against a live audience.