A conversational tool that is great for debate, brilliant for fun, banter and laughter and ideal for the creative person who wants to tell a story through the medium of video.
Made in Great Britain, we bring to you: Avanatta!
Users of this new social app can ‘avanatta’ (have a natter) with each other using short videos (20 or 8 seconds) that are linked together to make a video reel and can be shown over and over again. Pretty cool!
Avanatta is a social network with a clear social responsibility. Software helps curb trolling, bad language text is filtered and policies prioritise respect for all users. The ethos of the company and that of the app is to encourage users to Avanatta without fear of bullying or abuse, trolling or indecency and to enjoy the many positive and rewarding benefits of social networking.
Rewarding users: Also being establishing is a currency system for the app’s users called nattaCoins which can be used towards digital downloads and exclusive content. Users can also donate their nattaCoins to charities who can exchange them for cash. Whether you’re a viewer or content creator, this feature is available to anyone using Avanatta!
The app even works well with other social networks. Users can put content available elsewhere into context. For example, imagine seeing a photo with video commentary or watching a video about a video! Imagine watching a Vine and learning about the thought process applied by its creator!
So, How Does Avanatta Work
Users avanatta by pressing a button that loads the ‘start-stop’ camera on their smart-phone (iOS or Android). You can record selfies, change views and choose how long your opening natta will be (up to 20 seconds). Your followers are notified of the natta and can all reply with up to 8 seconds.
Each reply is tagged to the other in time sequence creating a nattaReel (a mini film) that can be watched over and over again from any point of time.
Avanatta’s patent-applied for technology plays each natta in the nattaReel seamlessly, one after the other without gaps. Users can like, share, and forward them to their friends. You can even add a text comment which is time-line sequenced to the other text comments.
Avanatta also allows it’s users to share a URL link (e.g. a YouTube link), a video or a photo which they can natta about. Viewers will see a link overlaid on the natta thumbnail and can click on it at anytime to watch the context of the nattaReel.
So, where did the inspiration for Avanatta arise from? A number of things all came together at the same time. Avanatta was founded by the Pursey family and in particular Georgina and Jack who designed the product and their parents Richard and Sharon who built the business infrastructure.
Recently, we got to speak with Co-Founder of Avanatta: Georgie Pursey, to discuss the social network with us in more detail:
Great to have you join us! Let’s go back in time. What inspired you to create this new social network?
Separately, both myself and Jack had become disillusioned with social networks. It had happened slowly at first. Gradually we found our social feeds were becoming cluttered with mundane, uninteresting statuses that frustrated rather than entertained us, and we were being bombarded with friend requests from none other than our parents. For us, these sites were rapidly becoming ‘uncool’.
It seemed to us that while they were great for keeping in contact with our friends and people we knew from a distance, they were no longer providing us with as much entertainment as they once did. Instead we found ourselves spending time on entertainment apps such as Vine, YouTube and Instagram because they provided short bursts of entertainment. But we still returned to sites like Facebook and Twitter because they held the social element that we still wanted. We realized what was needed to make us fall in love with social networking again was an amalgamation of all of these things.
Whilst at university, I found that procrastination was a common element of getting my degree! If watching videos of cats playing the piano could have contributed towards my degree, I would have got myself a first class honors degree no trouble at all. Better yet, if I could have been rewarded financially for all of this time I spent watching silly videos, I would have been able to pay off my student loans before even completing my studies!
This got me thinking about the price of entertainment. Celebrities are paid thousands of pounds for providing us with entertainment, while Jack and I were finding ourselves being far more entertained by people on the internet who had been making and uploading interesting and funny videos but getting no rewards for their content at all, and this just didn’t quite seem fair!
For my brother on the other hand, as with many of his great ideas, Avanatta originated in the pub… After a few pints, he and his mates decided to start communicating with each other through silly videos they recorded on their phones. The videos they were all making were similar to those that were going viral on video platforms like YouTube and Vine, but they saw little point in pushing these videos because there were no real benefits in sharing their content with the world. This was one of the rare occasions where my brother and I agreed on something.
And so it seemed a bit like fate when our dad, Richard Pursey, approached us with a selection of interesting technology that he had been offered by a young team of developers looking for an investment in their business. The technology needed adjustment but it was clear that it could be adapted to make a brand new social network and would enable people to create fantastic content, and be rewarded for it.
And so that was the conception of Avanatta. But the birth came when we really started to work out what we wanted the site to be.
We didn’t want to create just another Facebook, we wanted to build something vibrant, new and more than anything, something pretty cool. We wanted creativity to be the main aspect of this site, with a focus on sharing, interacting and entertaining. We decided we wanted Avanatta to be video focused… if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is surely worth a dictionary! And a key thing for us is that it should be addictive and entertaining. People spend hours every day on social networking and micro video sites separately… bringing them together in one place, surely this would make Avanatta the site to be on all the time. That is what we wanted.
The name Avanatta is very cool! What led to this name becoming a reality?
We were looking for something that was catchy and quite British as we are proud of our country and our origins. We want our brand to be fun, liked and admired and thought there was something a little cheaky and British about ‘aving a natta’! We know the name doesn’t necessarily translate overseas (in fact, we have heard some people call it ‘arvar narta’, but we don’t mind that.). For us Brits it means something and in our opinion, something more than just a tweet!
Avanatta has a ton of features for users. Can you explain it’s core functions?
Avanatta works on iOS and Android and is suited very well for the mobile market. In many respects, it is about ‘being in the moment’. Capturing an event and ‘avin a natta’ about it. The ‘start-stop’ camera technology is great for curating and building stories that can develop over time.
Users can natta privately on a one-to-one basis, in groups or even publicly and openly with everyone (to send and receive private nattas, users have to be following each other). Hashtags and mentions allow users to categorise their content which they can also share onto other social networks.
When a user decides to avanatta, they are given a 20 second recording window. Followers can then add to the opening natta with up to 8 seconds. Each natta in the nattaReel (the film) is attached to the other seamlessly and plays without interruption from start to finish. However, the originator of the nattaReel can delete anyone’s individual natta in the nattaReel allowing them to edit the content to suit their tastes.
The app uses gesturing technology allowing the user to swipe the content from side to side, fast forwarding to later nattas in the nattaReel. Users can like, forward, and also add a text comment to the nattaReel.
Privacy settings can be applied to prevent users from disrupting content. Offensive content can be reported and if a threshold of reports are received within a given time, the software will automatically freeze the content for the Avanatta support team to review and release or ban as appropriate. Users can be blocked if unliked.
For vloggers, engaging with your community of supporters is very important. How can video creators use Avanatta to engage with their audience and following?
For YouTubers, Avanatta adds a new dynamic to their content. It allows users to refresh old content by adding a supporting nattaReel that puts the YouTube video in context. Imagine watching a video commentary about a video! This effectively means that content posted months if not years ago can be refreshed and brought back to life earning them more views and where applicable, money.
When a user nattas about a YouTube video, the video is technically still played on the YouTube platform. This means that the user (and of course YouTube) still earns money from the adverts placed on the channel. Avanatta effectively increases their revenue as the user also earns from the adverts placed by Avanatta on their nattaChannel whilst they watch YouTube content and supporting nattaReels.
It isn’t just YouTube videos that video creators can natta about. They can natta about their Instagram photos, content on Pinterest, Vine, Vimeo and more. Users can also natta about photos stored on their phones. For content creators and vloggers this brings a new personal dimension to their content as well. They can put into context (for example) fashion photos or videos bringing them to life with commentary and supporting opinion. Users can even engage with their fans by allowing them to add nattas, comment and question the vloggers on their thoughts and opinions.
Avanatta Beta went live on October 17th 2014. What are some of the early challenges you faced, and how have you addressed them?
The more obvious challenges in the early days centred around the user experience from handling bugs to smoothing the rough edges. Whilst we had used an external bug finding agency who tested the app in over 20 different countries on all kinds of devices, nothing can beat the feedback from real users.
We learned that older generation phones couldn’t handle our streaming technology and that our early versions had too many features. We had included a live-broadcasting product as well as a diary system but soon found that they were disguising the power and benefits of our hero product, the nattaReel. Our management information showed us what users were doing, their ‘stickiness’ and how they navigated the site. We noticed that certain features were simply not getting the traction we had hoped for.
We have always believed that the product is everything. Get the product right before we worry about user traction has been our priority from the outset. So, with such valuable feedback we started to strip out functionality and improve the user experience simplifying the whole natta process. Patience has been a much needed skill in our company over the past few months as we had to hold back our commercial team to get the product honed. We are still doing that now and suspect that fine-tuning and development is a never-ending task.
Avanatta also has a feature called nattaCoins. How does that work?
We have looked long and hard at monetisation. From the outset, it was very important that we generated a revenue stream that could fund our growth. We are aware of other social networks that do not monetize content, however, our social conscience has been centre to everything we have done and will do in the future. We know our app can potentially generate much revenue and we wanted to share that with both our users and charities alike. This is in our DNA.
However, there is a fine balance between adverts and the user experience and so we monitor very carefully the feedback from users and the statistics provided to us by our management information systems. Too many adverts and we know users will leave the app.
We have always wanted to share the revenue generated by viewing content provided by our users. It seemed only right. However, payment systems on other social networks only recognise the person that uploads the content. They do not recognize those that view the content and by default create the income. Of course, you can’t have one without the other so we decided to stand out from the rest by paying all users (whether they be viewers or broadcasters) by giving them nattaCoins, a crypto-currency that can be used in innovative ways, and deliver our core values of social responsibility and respect.
NattaCoins are earned when content is uploaded and viewed. Both the broadcaster and the viewer earn. The nattaCoins can then be exchanged in the future for social gifts that can be given to users as a reward or thank you. Imagine receiving an electronic voucher for a cup of coffee or a digital download such as music or a film voucher from one of your friends or perhaps a celebrity!
NattaCoins can also be donated to charities or to friends and followers. Charities will be able to exchange the nattaCoins for cash whilst users will be able to buy digital downloads (such as music or films etc.) with their nattaCoins. Other products will follow in future versions including giving users access to exclusive and often live content not available elsewhere.
What feature(s) do you believe users will really enjoy when using Avanatta?
We are most proud of the nattaReel and in particular the speed our app delivers content to the users’ phones. Each natta plays seamlessly, meaning that nattaReels can provide the user with a rewarding experience as conversations can develop very quickly often providing a lot of fun along the way. We have seen a wide range of uses:
The story-mode feature allows a user to effectively natta with themselves all day long. It’s like a diary. Users can natta uninterrupted all day long while restricting others from joining in. We have watched people go on holiday, watched their days unfold, witnessed sports events and even seen songs sung and plays enacted. It is a live diary and often compelling viewing.
Celebrities are using the site in interesting ways too. We are seeing behind the scenes of TV and stage shows, sports events as well as intimate moments of people we recognise but perhaps don’t know that well. We are now learning more about them, who they are, what they do and how they lead their personal lives. We are also learning the context of content we were already aware of but knew little about. Why was that song written, when and where was that photo taken, who is that you are with etc.
Users are having a great time with Avanatta. The fun ranges from users having fun bragging about sports results to sharing beauty tips and make-up lessons all the way to cooking demonstrations and much more!
To watch the nattaReel over and over again has proven to be so popular as other video messaging apps don’t join the messages together like we do. We love seeing people interact often asking questions and posing challenges.
What are some of your goals for Avanatta, and where would you like see this social network in the future?
World domination may sound a little trite but we certainly want to be a brand that is loved by many and used by many all over the world. We definitely want to make Britain proud. We are already in 31 countries after just a few short weeks and love seeing the app used by many people in multiple languages.
We will know we have got it right when we can start paying charities regularly and handsomely. When users rave about a social gift they have received from their favourite pop star and when the words ‘lets avanatta’ become part of everyday language!
For now, we have to keep our feet on the ground and listen to our users who mean everything to us. We want to keep developing the app and have some superb ideas already mapped out on the drawing board (imagine seeing natta hot spots from around the world live streaming as they are posted from popular events anytime, anyplace anywhere!)
That sounds awesome! Avanatta is definitely a unique social network that seems really fun! We would like to thank Co-founder Georgie Pursey for taking the time to discuss the app in detail with us.
So, if you’re ready to Avanatta, you can become a part of the social network by visiting the official website: www.Avanatta.com. The app can be downloaded for iOS and Android.
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