Japan’s ViMET video viewer app learns user preference, keeps showing favorite clips

From the left: Emet Creation president So Yanagimoto, CEO Atsufumi Otsuka

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based startup Emet Creation introduced a new mobile app last week, which enables users to browse incessantly trending video clips. The app is called ViMET and now available for iOS on the iTunes AppStore.

Now that mobile broadband internet use is widespread in Japan, more users have come to enjoy video clips during intervals in daily lives such as a break at work or transit time. The most popular type of content among those viewed include seconds-long comedy-variety video clips, typically easygoing rather than movies or dramas that need deep thinking. Yet almost users spend 80% of their browsing time looking for clips that they may like, in contrast to the remaining 20% of the time used to actually watch them.

Playback screen

Emet Creation has developed a platform allowing users to keep browsing videos from YouTube that they may like based on deep learning about their browsing history as well as collaborative filtering with the browsing histories of other ViMET users. When one watches a video clip using the app, one just presses a heart button on screen if one likes the clip, otherwise take no action and then proceed to the next clip. In this way, the app’s engine will learn one’s preference. We were told that the team aims to make it the video version of Japan’s curated news app Gunosy.

Emet Creation CEO Atsufumi Otsuka explained:

Since launch of the app in open beta in March this year, we have been improving its algorithm to better capture the preference of a user while collecting feedback from beta users. With this effort, an average usage time per app launch was overwhelmingly improved from 4 minutes to 27 minutes. We can’t find the demographics of our users but many uses before going asleep.

27 minutes is a very high number, especially compared to an average usage time of typical curated news apps, which is just five minutes. On average, our users launch the ViMET app twice a week, or eight times a month (using four hours a month), meaning that our service is more valuable as a media app because of the longer contact time with users. Looking forward, we want to add a new feature called My ViMET, allowing users to create a channel curating just their favorite video clips.

Diagram provided by Emet Creation.
Diagram provided by Emet Creation. According to a recent report from the Nielsen Company Japan, there are 37 million people using mobile video services in Japan.

According to Emet Creation, there’s no competitor in this space globally, especially in the category focused on a platform for browsing personalized short video clips. The company will start developing an Android version soon, aiming to acquire more users that like mobile video browsing.

Emet Creation was founded in 2014 by its president, Yanagimoto So, holding more than 40,000 Twitter followers together with CEO Atsufumi Otsuka, who used to work for the giant Japanese ad agency Dentsu. They secured a round of angel funding worth 20 million yen (about $170,000 in the exchange rate at the time) from former Intel Japan president Nobuyuki Denda and other angel investors in November of 2014, followed by securing additional funding worth 20 million yen (about $164,000) from another undisclosed angel investor in May this year.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy