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YouTube co-founder Steve Chen is betting big on live video streaming with his recently launched app for food lovers called Name.

Name was launched last week and is billed as a “community for foodies who want to create, share and watch their favorite stories in real time”.

Speaking to SXSW, Chen joined Vijay Karunamurthy, CEO of Nom and former YouTube engineer, to discuss the birth of Nom, what makes him different from other streaming platforms and how they plan to monetize the site. .

Name’s roots

A few years after Google acquired YouTube, Karunamurthy and Chen both left their posts on the video site to come up with a new idea. The duo partnered with YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley to create Avos Systems, a Google Ventures-backed incubator that Karunamurthy and Chen ended up leaving in 2014 after Hurley decided to focus the business on the video app. MixBit mobile.

Karunamurthy said that during this time he and Chen often had conversations about tech and start-up ideas around dining in places like Google’s “amazing” cafeterias. After a while, the two began to notice that their conversations often revolved around the topics of food, cooking, and meal planning.

“We were sitting down having these meals, trying to talk about ideas for start-ups and tech ideas that really inspired us, but we realized that a lot of times we were talking as much about the food we ate or trying to cook like we were technological ideas, ”said Karunamurthy.

As BuzzFeed’s “Tasty” videos gain popularity and social media giants like Facebook and Twitter go big on live video with their own live streaming offerings, Karunamurthy and Chen are trying to fuse the excitement around. food and live video with Nom.

Overall, the two are hoping foodies embrace Nom as a way to share anything from a taco they discovered at a food truck to a meal they cook in their own kitchen.

Still early days

Since the live broadcast itself is still in its infancy, Chen said Nom is open to suggestions from its users for changes and additions that people would like to see on the site.

“Until you actually see people using it, we don’t know whether or not we should be promoting or demoting things. [on the site],” he said.

In the future, Nom is hoping to add polling capabilities to the site, as some users are already hijacking the reaction buttons – which include a thumbs-up, heart, and LOL – to take food polls. For example, Karunamurthy said that a user asked the question, “What do you think lawyers represented in ancient Aztec culture?” “

“The heart meant fertility and I think the thumbs-up meant an act of war or something,” he said. “You’re starting to see people using these features to build their own little survey systems. “

Although Nom plans to expand the site and its capabilities, it already allows users to interact with each other via videos, photos and GIFs in the live streaming channels, which Chen and Karunamurthy say helps foster a relationship between the host of the live. -stream and those who connect.

Being able to interact with people on the other side of the camera is half the fun, according to Chen. He used a recent example of himself where he said he ended up watching someone make spaghetti for over an hour just because he was having fun interacting with everyone on the channel. .

“There’s no way if this was just a spaghetti video that I would actually watch, but the engagement where you’d type something, ask them questions, or joke with them, and that immediate feedback , there is an experience there that is simply unmatched elsewhere, ”he said.

Bring home the bacon

Even though YouTube’s advertising strategy relies heavily on its pre-roll ads, Chen said they want to stay away from that at Nom when it comes to monetizing the platform.

“The worst experience is when you are interested in watching a piece of content and you are forced to watch a thirty second pre-roll that has nothing to do with what you are watching,” he said. declared.

Instead of going the pre-roll route, Chen said they would likely work with brands that are already of interest to Nom users, such as companies that make kitchen or grill appliances.

“If we’re going to do any form of advertising, it’ll hopefully tie into something that’s inside the video. And in our case, it’s pretty easy because usually when you’re cooking you’re using something that you can sell, ”Chen said.

He also said that Nom would potentially share the revenue with the people creating content on the site, much like Nom influencers.

“It just seems natural that we find ways to connect people with things they are passionate about,” Karunamurthy said.

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