Can you gamify content curation? This startup thinks so

Many video curation startups do away with the old-fashioned programming guide to help users find TV shows and online clips. Turkey-based Woisio, which launches its private beta Monday, takes a little bit of a different approach: it keeps the guide – but gets rid of the schedulers.

Woisio wants, instead, to use game mechanics and collaborative filtering to compile a new set of channels, and, in turn, get rid of the traditional middlemen. “Media shouldn’t be mediated,” said the company’s founder Mujdat Ayoguz when he stopped by our office a few weeks ago.

Here’s how Woisio works: The platform offers viewers a number of different channels, called “stages”, including comedy, style , music, politics and so on. Each of these channels is programmed to show clips at a certain time, but users can skip forward or go back and catch up on past programming. There are also local stages, so you can specifically watch clips in the New York politics or Los Angeles music channel. Videos can be up- and downvoted, much like stories on Reddit.

However, unlike on Reddit, votes don’t automatically equal exposure. Instead, they translate to a virtual currency, which the publisher of a video can then use to bid on future air time for other clips. The basic idea behind this: Publishers get rewarded for popular content, and programming becomes a bit of a marketplace. Think virtual stock exchange, but for content curation.

Woisio’s idea is intriguing, but the whole bidding process seems unnecessarily complicated.

The idea is kind of intriguing, especially since every user can also be a publisher. However, the whole bidding process adds an extra layer of complexity that could turn off publishers, and in turn make the whole platform much less appealing for end users.

The other problem of Woisio’s approach is that most of Woisio’s content consists of clips found on YouTube and elsewhere. Turning that kind of material into a synchronous, scheduled experience doesn’t make all that much sense, as found out the hard way when it tried to enable real-time viewing experiences around catch-up videos from Hulu and elsewhere.

Still, Woisio may be onto something with its idea of turning curation into a game. Ayoguz told me that he eventually wants to roll out the service all over the world, and then have publishers and communities playfully compete against each other for the right to show clips on the world stage. That does sound intriguing – even if the site’s current setup doesn’t really seem ready to capture the world quite yet.

Woiso’s team of six is based in Turkey and Mountain View. The company has raised close to $1 million in seed funding, and is now looking for additional investments.