A decade into its life as a company, Flipboard is getting serious about video. After launching Flipboard TV on Samsung devices earlier in the year, the company is expanding the availability of the feature to all Android and iOS devices.
In addition to the media companies that signed on when Flipboard TV first came out, several new publishers are joining the platform today as well, including Complex Networks, Vice Media Group and Refinery29. You'll also find content from a variety of independent producers and local TV stations. In all, the company says they'll be content from nearly 300 sources, with more to come.
Outside of Samsung devices, where Flipboard offers an ad-free version of the platform for $3 per month, Flipboard TV is free to access. You'll see pre-roll ads as you queue new videos to watch. At the moment, Flipboard plans to keep the ad-free version of Flipboard TV exclusive to Samsung devices.
Once you've updated Flipboard, you'll see native videos throughout the app and a new section of the Content Guide. As with the written articles you can find on Flipboard, you can add any videos you like to a Magazine. Flipboard will also let you look for stuff to watch by topic.
Meanwhile, publishers and content creators can add video content to Storyboards, which is a feature Flipboard released in June to help brands create smaller curated slices of content on specific topics. When you visit their profile pages, you'll also see a dedicated section for videos.
While videos, particularly from YouTube, have been a part of Flipboard for a while, it was only in December that the company started to build out a backend for content that plays natively. "What we didn't want to do was reinvent the wheel," says Brian Gottesman, Flipboard's head of video and monetization products, of the development process. "The play button is still a triangle." He says his team focused most of its creativity on finding ways to tie videos into Flipboard's existing curation model.
As for the timing of today's release, Claus Enevoldsen, the company's VP of global growth and business development, says it felt like the right time to make the medium more of a focus with features like Storyboards rolling out to users. "It's a natural progression of our mission to inform people," he said. "It also plays into our strength in the landscape. We have always been a content creator-first company. We are successful if our content creators are successful."
Moving forward, you can expect the company to find ways to make video a more immersive experience within its software, particularly as it gets a better sense of the role the format plays in the overall Flipboard experience.