Video sharing service Twitvid today announced a major rebranding, with the startup changing its name to Telly and moving even more towards video discovery, sharing and social networking, and even further away from its origins as a simple video sharing service appended to Twitter. The rebrand isn’t exactly a surprise; Twitvid launched an overhauled version of its site in December reflecting its new focus, and made multiple acquisitions earlier this year aimed squarely at bringing on talent from teams that dealt specifically with video sharing and personalized content recommendations.
According to Twitvid/Telly CEO and co-founder Mo Al Adham, the change just made sense for the service based on how it was being used, and how far it has come since its relatively simply origins. “We always knew that Twitvid as a brand meant one thing to users: it’s a place to upload videos and share them on Twitter,” he explained. “As we identified a much bigger problem, the brand stopped serving us well. We’re going to continue maintaining Twitvid apps, but when it comes to discovering content, people don’t think of Twitvid as a place to go to get entertainment and video.”
“It’s clearly a tough move because we love the brand and we’ve been working on it for three years, but it’s time to move on to a much bigger vision, and the brand Telly is really exciting to us for that reason,” Al Adham added, noting that the new name for the company is derived both from the colloquial way of referring to television as the “telly” in many English-speaking countries, as well as the root of the word, “tell,” which gets at Telly’s ability to also let users share their own stories via video.
Video creation and content discovery make up the two cornerstones of Telly’s new focus, which will first be reflected primarily in its web-based Telly.com property. Users can collect and curate video content from almost anywhere on the web, and can also upload their own self-created movies. Al Adham said that the company plans to gradually migrate over users from Twitvid.com to the new website, all the while monitoring feedback and trying to ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible. And while as mentioned the startup intends to keep the Twitvid apps active in the App Store, it’s also targeting launches of new dedicated native Telly apps later this year.
With Telly’s new positioning in the video sharing and discovery space, it puts it directly in competition with recent rising stars like Socialcam and Viddy, and also curation platforms like Showyou and Shelby.tv. But Al Adham thinks that Telly has significant advantages over others, including its dual focus on both discovery of and sharing of existing sources and user-generated content, and a strong built-in user base and library of videos from its time as one of the go-to video sharing services for Twitter.
Telly raised $6.5 million last September in a Series B round, which Al Adham said is still serving the startup well, and allowing them to focus completely on the rebrand and making sure users are comfortable with the switchover. It’ll be interesting to see if Telly faces pushback the way Bit.ly did when it moved away from its identity as an URl-shortener to become a social bookmarking service, or if users will welcome the company’s decision to rebrand to highlight what it believes are its true strengths.