Rheo brings 'mood-based' curation to crowded social video field

The Rheo interface uses what the company calls an "emote control," curating by mood, not topic.

Just when cable programmers felt like they had started making strides on Snapchat, along comes a new social video platform: Rheo.

Launching today, the service founded by iOS Apps pioneer Alan Cannistraro and Apple News designer Charles Migos aims to deliver a curated stream of short-form videos personalized to viewer tastes and viewing habits. Rheo touts itself as the first social video platform to bring together the best parts of online video and social networking, though others—notably Facebook—are making a similar pitch. At launch, it has content from partners such as Refinery29 and Vimeo but promises that more exclusive content deals are brewing. Video that already gets wide social syndication, such as Comedy Central's The Daily Show, also appears on Rheo.

Rheo is available for now as a free download only on iOS and AppleTV, as well as via its website. Rheo says it is "reinventing the way consumers watch video through a curated stream of topical and trending content from thousands of publishers, creators and influencers, personalized to viewers' tastes." In other words: navigation, navigation, navigation.

“As a huge video consumer, my goal was to remove the stress and frustration that comes with searching for something to watch and replace it with a simple, enjoyable stream of video that matters to each viewer,” said Cannistraro, Rheo founder and CEO, in the company's launch release (PDF). “With a simple, elegant user interface leveraging the latest platform technologies and integrating innovative social and sharing tools, Rheo is your very own personal video channel.”

Instead of orienting users toward traditional navigation by genre, publisher or chart position, Rheo uses moods—such as Laugh, Inform, Learn, Taste, Chill, Move and Spark—to stream what viewers want to watch. Viewers see tailored content ranked across several dimensions, including trends, interests, time of day, and that content delivery adapts to viewer behavior as they watch, skip, boost or share with their social networks in and out of Rheo.

Rheo’s streaming content library is updated continually, with new videos made available every day covering news and entertainment, comedy and food, music and culture, and sports and education sources from around the world.