It’s a common problem. A friend or colleague recommends a TV show to binge or a movie to stream but can’t remember if it’s on Netflix or Amazon or one of those other services with a plus sign affixed to it.
But a new search and discovery app aims to make sense of all the confusion wrought by the streaming wars, by helping users get recommendations from their network of friends, family, even brands or influencers. And, more importantly, connecting users with the streaming services where those shows and movies are currently available.
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It’s called QEWD, and it’s currently in Beta mode and available to the general public on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The service is the brainchild of Zak Kadison, the former VP of production for Fox Atomic and founder of Blacklight Transmedia, as well as a film producer.
“There’s a lot of market research from a variety of places that show that streaming consumers are frustrated because it’s very hard to find something good to see and you have to hop in and out of multiple apps to find out what’s on,” says Kadison.
What QEWD does is streamline the process by allowing users to access all of the services they subscribe to, as well as platforms such as YouTube and TikTok in one central location. It also allows you to curate recommendations from other users on the service and then helps you seamlessly find out where that programming can be accessed. Even when movies move from Netflix to Amazon or another service, links are kept up-to-date, so that QEWD users can find out where the content in question is currently being licensed.
“The average person is spending close to 50 minutes trying to figure out what to watch,” says Kadison. “We’re trying to give people the large chunk of their life back that they’re currently wasting browsing endless carousels.”
The app is free to download, but Kadison believes that there are several ways to potentially monetize the service. They can run ads or they can introduce a tiered, premium model without advertising and with special features. The company will also derive revenue from affiliate fees it receives for driving signups to streaming services.
Users of QEWD are able to curate and share their watchlists, with content as broad or as specialized as they’d like them to be. The company says that the lists can be as simple as “favorite comedies” or “favorite dramas” or as specific as “best movies featuring volcanoes.” Kadison says the core audience for QEWD is users between the ages of 18 to 35, but he thinks that it will appeal to consumers in other demographics.
QEWD is still raising money, but it has attracted an impressive board of advisors including Garth Ancier, the former head of the WB and president of BBC America, Dominique Delport, former president of Vivendi’s content divisions and former international president of Vice Media and Yair Landau, former vice chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment and president of Sony Pictures Digital.
“I don’t get involved in projects unless I believe in them, and with Zak I just have a gut instinct,” says Ancier, still one of only two executives ever to be president of three U.S. broadcast networks.
Plus, Ancier believes in what QEWD is selling.
“I don’t think I’ve never been barraged by so much content on so many platforms in my life, but it’s almost indecipherable,” he says. “This allows people to avoid getting stuck in that endless scroll.”
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