Social media is still on the rise and many still struggle to understand what it is or how to effectively use it in their personal or business life. There are various types of users out there, whether you are a blogger, news outlet, politician or music artist, social media can be a great way to share information and engage with your fans for example. Social media does not end at just 140 characters or image sharing, it can be more engaging to use live video streaming to engage with users.
Hang W/ aims to help users engage with others with a live video stream platform that is available on mobile, users can be alerted when you go live, have the opportunity to chat with you and amongst other viewers and it can even be played back after the live view session. We sat down with Andrew Maltin, one of the co founders of Hang W/ to see how 50 cent a prominent rapper’s involvement has helped grow their platform.
Q: Briefly tell us a little about your background
AM: Back in 2008 my business partner and I were looking to build some apps for some clients. After extensive research we found the app industry was like walking into the wild west. It was in it’s infancy. We saw the app industry as being similar to the dot com era of the 90’s. We did extensive research and hired the best developers out there and formed MEDL Mobile. Fast forward 6 years and have worked with some of the biggest brands in the world such as New York Times, Experian, Disney, Emirates Airlines, Monster and Hyundai. Additionally, in 2012 we incubated Hang w/.
Q: Tell us a about Hang w/. What’s it all about? What was the inspiration behind it?
AM: Hang w/ was built to solve a problem. Social Media is becoming fake. Professional Twitter teams and Facebook posting services are growing and authenticity in social media is shrinking. We see live social video as a solution to this problem and that’s why Hang w/ was born.
Hang w/ let’s users to broadcast up to 9 minutes of live uninterrupted video to unlimited number of mobile devices, web, or directly to Facebook.
You can’t fake live. What you see is what you get. We’ve seen that social media is great for letting people know what happened in the past. Where were you last night? Who did you get together with yesterday? What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Hang w/ is different because people are together in a moment. The broadcaster sets the stage by putting out a broadcast – and then dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people can join in that very moment. The viewers are seeing what the broadcaster is seeing RIGHT NOW. And viewers have the ability to chat – which makes the entire experience feel more communal and connected. We believe Hang w/ brings people together to spend time “with” each other from all over the world.
Q: What makes Hang w/ stand out from competitor apps such as U-Stream?
AM: Hang w/ is more like a live video twitter with a more edgier/raw feel to it. We are keen for people to become internet stars in their own right using Hang w/.
Many of the celebs using Hang w/ are known to pop into people’s broadcasts to say hello. A long distance runner from LA was using Hang w/ to share her story about running 3000 miles across the USA in aid of veterans when super producer Timbaland commented on her broadcast and donated some money to help fund it. Now that’s really cool!
Hang w/ is being positioned as an app for celebs to deeper connect with their fans and give behind the scenes access which fans are not usually privy to. We have seen celebs broadcast live from the red carpet ,sports locker rooms, movie and tv news sets and even inside a hospital shortly before giving birth!
Q: Since rapper 50 Cent has become involved with Hang w/ what impact has this had on your business? Does he like to take on a hands on role with Hang w/?
AM: Having someone as high profile as 50 Cent involved has been great for Hang w/. 50 Cent has truly embraced the platform, He recently did an exclusive concert at South by South West in Texas and broadcasted live on Hang w/. It was like being there and viewers who tuned in said that it felt like they had front row access seats!
50 Cent has said that Hang w/ fits seamlessly into his overall business strategy and is keen to use it to promote his music and business ventures moving forward.
Q: How many active users does Hang w/ currently have and what’s on the horizon for Hang w/?
AM: Hang w/ recently announced 1 million downloads in just 9 months after release and that figure is growing rapidly. It was released faster than Twitter at 24 months, Pinterest at 20 months, Foursquare at 13 months and even Facebook at 10 months. The company is working on numerous updates to Hang w/ on iPhone and Android which we think people will love!
Hang w/ also debuted a early beta of Hang w/ on Google Glass at CES in Las Vegas in January.
We have over 300 celebs using Hang w/ including the likes of Lucy Hale, Larry The Cable Guy, Timbaland, 50 Cent and Jamie Kennedy. New celebs are signing up every day and we are actively looking to bring more on to mix things up and keep things fresh.
Q: As times goes by more and more users will use Hang w/. What measures are you putting in place to make sure the app can handle millions of broadcasts at any given time without lag or buffering within the app?
AM: Hang w/ was in stealth development for over two uses and was built with the infrastructure to handle millions of people using it and to scale accordingly.
Andrew Thank you for your time and all the best with Hang W/.