When Magnify acquired Waywire last year, it was with the goal of using the social video service to power a program guide for digital video content, curated by experts around specific brands, interests, and topics.
Waywire put that plan into motion earlier this year, and according to data provided by the company, it seems to be working. Per Google Analytics, Waywire channels, which are overseen by 50 curators, drove over 877,000 page views from more than 260,000 unique users in the third quarter of 2014, both all-time highs for the curated network.
While a video is a core focus for any Waywire curated channel, they also feature relevant photo and social content — essentially serving as a curated hub for content around any particular topic.
When compared to the previous quarter, Waywire’s growth is exponential. Unique users are up 1,031% from 25,500 in Q2 2014, while page views grew 956%.
For Waywire CEO Steve Rosenbaum, the network’s growth validates his decision to pursue a curated content model. Instead of focusing on hit pieces of content, like Netflix, or creating a “big, noisy, successful” network like BuzzFeed, Waywire pursued the “slightly counter” strategy of aggregating audiences around high-quality, granular verticals, he says.
“We are meeting the needs of an audience that isn’t being served by an A&E or the History Channel,” Rosenbaum continues. “We waited until Q3 to be sure, but based on network usage and inbound requests, I think the question of whether or not curated TV is a working model has been answered for us.”
This is supported by the fact that entertainment, while certainly the most popular category on Waywire according to internal data, is not the only category driving visits and views. A channel devoted to “body image,” for instance, was one of the top 10 channels on Waywire in September in terms of social referrals. (Unsurprisingly, Facebook is a significant driver of social traffic for Waywire, responsible for 96% of social referral traffic in September.)
That said, entertainment is still a premier category for Waywire. To that end, the company has been approached by a number of networks to launch curated channels, says Rosenbaum, though he declines to name specific companies.
Looking ahead, Waywire will look to push its growth by adding more curators to the network. The company is also testing new “hero” banners, which serve as high quality, clean mastheads for the curated channels.
Mobile is another area of focus. Waywire developers are currently implementing and testing mobile-friendly pages for each curated channels. These pages are a little stripped down, and function more as “pure video channels,” according to Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum expects a noticeable bounce in audience numbers by December, once mobile is able to be fully accounted for.
Beyond the curated offering, Waywire’s enterprise business has also been delivering views — 300 million year-to-date across the entire network, according to Rosenbaum.