The evolution of the humble TV Guide seems to have arrived with Gyde – the first mobile, multi-screen consumer app that makes it easier to find a movie to watch across Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, Amazon and other Video on Demand platforms.
The proliferation of multi-channel online sites that allow users to fully customise and expand their viewing experience is already on the rise with startups like Churn TV. Over the next few years however, audiences will see this mass transition into the mobile space as devices get faster alongside a projected film and TV industry to be worth close to $500bn globally by 2018.
How Gyde works is by allowing the user to discover movies based on their mood or favourite genre before slotting those movies firmly in your pocket device. It sounds like a relatively simple service but most media startups seem to underestimate the potential of the mobile video entertainment segment.
Andrew Julian, who is the Product Lead at the Melbourne-based development office for Gyde says that they initially acquired another Australian film startup, GoodFilms, six months ago to help accelerate the development of the Gyde mobile app.
“We believe it’s too hard to find a movie to watch, so we saw an obvious fit with all the great work done by the GoodFilms founders and what we wanted to accomplish with Gyde. We’ve been working together since GoodFilms graduated from the AngelCube program in 2011, so the fit was a natural one.”
GoodFilms was a web-based site that let its users rate and share film with their friends. Gyde aims to build on GoodFilms’ experience by leveraging its architected technology and existing product. Julian says that the initial reception was amazing especially amongst film fanatics. “It empowers anyone to be a film critic and help people find better movies. The most common request from its users is a “mobile app”, and we hope to bring the passionate GoodFilms users along for the journey with us on Gyde.”
Their acquisition was not out of chance either as the co-founders of GoodFilms were experienced players in the startup market. Scott Julian, Glen Maddern, John Barton and Charlie Gleason all helped to bring GoodFilms to life in Australia with the latter three now having moved onto other projects.
More importantly Scott Julian and Andrew Julian are brothers, who now head Gyde alongside co-founder Darcy Laycock. The brothers have been working together on successive startups out of Melbourne for over 13 years, having already achieved two exits with another under management. Their previous startup (Effective Measure) raised $15m out of Silicon Valley and now operates in 41 countries. Laycock is Gyde’s tech co-founder and has previously worked on a app in the music discovery space (Discovr) with over 3.5 million downloads prior to co-founding Gyde.
With development based in Melbourne and the business based in Los Angeles, Gyde has strategically positioned itself to access the staggering list of America’s most prominent online channels. Julian says that “a lot of the major studios” are working with them, but he can’t say who until the official launch on September 1st.
“Piracy is a huge issue for the market in general, which is why Gyde has been embraced by so many major players in Hollywood,” says Julian.
“Services like Popcorn Time have made it clear that what consumers demand is a a simple process to find things to watch with instant gratification. But at the same time people who create this content deserve to be paid.”
“We are confident that given a comprehensive view of their content choices, a great user experience and reasonable prices, people are happy to pay.”
Julian also explains that a major hurdle they encountered in their startup journey was the difficult fundraising process in Australia. Adding to this was the lack of Video on Demand services and content options which compounded the issues of locals realising the problem they were trying to solve. He said that Australians need to channel their creativity into the new world economy and not just rely on the mining and resources sector for stability
“Australia will never be able to replicate Silicon Valley exactly, but there is a major opportunity for Australia to be a launching pad for new ideas into Asia and tackle problems even in big markets like the USA,” he said.
He believes that government support alone is not the answer because the best companies will be forged in the adversity of a tough environment, but a special mention should go to the R&D Tax Concession.
“We know from direct experience [that] it has allowed us to keep jobs onshore rather than having to relocate them. It has a massive advantage for Australia and we hope the Government maintains the common sense to keep it in place, lest we lose more valuable minds – and income tax, to other countries.”