Pheed Unveils Android App, Hopes To Up Downloads
Pheed on Wednesday is launching an Android version of its app, which it hopes will double its total number of downloads. With the Google platform running on three-quarters of all smartphones sold in the first quarter, per Gartner data, it should help Pheed quickly expand its audience.
The Android edition offers the same features as iOS, including the pay-per-view option added in the iOS update released last week. That lets people charge other Pheed users to watch streaming live broadcasts directly from their mobile devices. Other changes include a revamped search offering and the ability to make channels private.
The move is building on existing growth.
Launched last November, social app Pheed zoomed up the App Store charts with help from celebrity early adopters and teens flocking to the latest would-be rival to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. Pheed has been described as melding aspects of all those platforms into one for sharing text, video, audio clips and other digital content.
“Pheed is a return to all-in-one apps,” noted Chrysta Olson, director of communications for the Los Angeles-based startup.
One twist the company brought to the crowded field of social apps was to give users the option to monetize their content by applying a subscription fee to their channel within the app, priced from 99 cents a month to $34.99.
Pheed saw another spike in downloads in December following the backlash over changes to Instagram’s terms of service, driving new users to the app because of its focus on copyright protection. That includes digital watermarking on photos and disclaimers around audience and text updates in addition to letting users charge for content.
Overwhelmed by the usage surge, Pheed closed to new users until February 1. Later that month, it became the top-ranking social networking app in the App Store, and hit No. 16 among all apps. While the company has not disclosed the total number of downloads to date, it had 1.5 million just in February. (As of Tuesday, it ranked No. 112 in the App Store among free social networking apps.)
Olson acknowledged that the Android app has been a long time coming, attributing the delay to completing the “huge refurbishing” of the iOS app before launching its counterpart for Android phones. In addition to features, Pheed is also extending the same business model to Android, taking a cut of any subscriptions or pay-per-view fees paid.
“Hopefully, we won’t have to bombard our users with advertising,” said Olson. She noted, however, that a number of brands already have a presence on Pheed, including MTV, World Wrestling Entertainment, the L.A. Clippers, and E! Entertainment Television.
That’s in addition to celebrities and musicians with their own Pheed channels, such as Miley Cyrus, Dane Cook, Linkin Park and Enrique Iglesias. The company has not paid high-profile talent to join or promote the service.
Rather than celebrities, she suggests tattoo artists, skateboarders, photographers and other “rebellious youth types” among its mostly 15- to-25-year-old user base, have fueled Pheed’s growth to date. Pheed faces stiff competition from rising new social apps like Vine and Snapchat in addition to the likes of Tumblr and Instagram.
While Pheed may no longer be experiencing the “hyper growth” it saw in February, Olson said the number of users is still climbing steadily. She added that average time spent per user on Pheed is 49 minutes a day, indicating a high level of engagement.