By Sahil Patel
Tango is a mobile messaging service that allows users to video-, voice-, and text-chat with any other user across the globe. The service has 200 million registered users, 70 million of whom are active every month, according to the startup.
It’s a massive mobile audience — enough for the startup to raise a $280 million Series D round led by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba earlier this year.
For a content company, access to such an audience is an attractive option. And that’s why, on June 10, Tango unveiled a new feature designed to bring brands closer to its mobile users.
Tango Channels allows users to subscribe to and share content while on the go. Upon launch, the feature is offering access to video networks like Dailymotion and Vevo, as well as an array of publishers from AOL to Cambio, TechCrunch, and The Huffington Post. (Dailymotion’s channel is already available, while Vevo’s is coming soon.)
“Our goal with Channels is to partner with news and video sites, as well as exciting brands, and bring fun, entertaining and informative content into conversations you are having with your friends and family,” said Tango in a blog post announcing the feature. “Whether it’s the latest viral video or a new hit song, we’re making it easy for Tango members to find and share the content they love.”
For Tango, the appeal of channels is obvious: It ensures that users spend more time on its app.
For video providers like Dailymotion and Vevo, which offer a slew of content suited for viewing and sharing on mobile, this is kind of huge.
Channels equals additional distribution on mobile devices. That’s very important for a company like Vevo, which has a huge and growing mobile audience.
That said, both Dailymotion and Vevo already have their own mobile apps. What’s more, Vevo has a software development kit that it’s been using to bring content to third-party apps. So it’s not like the companies aren’t interested and already active on mobile.
So what makes Tango Channels unique?
It’s the latter — not the ability for users to follow their favorite content providers, but the ability to share that content to friends and family while they’re already chatting with them. The experience is seamless and unobtrusive, and has the potential to really influence mobile video consumption. Which is why it’s unsurprising that Dailymotion and Vevo are already on board.
“Dailymotion is one of the leading video distribution platforms,” said John Cornett, Dailymotion’s publisher network director, in a statement. “As we expand our presence on mobile — it makes sense for us to look at messaging apps as a way to further engage our audiences.”
It’ll be interesting to see which other digital video content providers decide to sign up for Tango Channels. Anyone that offers short-form video makes sense for the service — not just YouTube, but individual digital media companies from Defy to MCN Land. The feature ensures that these content owners can deliver content to the devices their audiences are on, while also being careful to maintain their brand.