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Mobile app Wheel Video seeks a new approach to sharing content

Paul Boukadakis, founder of Wheel Video
Source: Paul Boukadakis
Paul Boukadakis, founder of Wheel Video

Smartphone users love social media, and they love watching videos even more, so what could be better than an app that offers the best of both worlds?

Wheel Video, which launched last month, has ambitions to change the way mobile users film, edit and share video content. The collaborative app allows a person to create a video clip, then forward it to another user, who then adds on his or her own video. It creates a continuous story that just keeps rolling from one user to the other — hence the name "Wheel."

Video is quickly becoming the internet's medium of choice, and that means developers of social media platforms need to think differently about how content will be created and shared, Wheel Video's CEO and founder Paul Boukadakis told CNBC in a recent interview.

Existing video top dogs like Snapchat and Instagram "were only built for the individual storyteller," Boukadakis said.

"As creative individuals, we saw countless POV's arising out of shared experiences, yet no innovative and easy way of unifying them," he said, adding that videos on traditional networks function like closed systems. "We wanted to shift the creative focus from 'me' to 'we.'"

A recent study by Cisco found that video content is expected to comprise 82 percent of all web traffic by 2020, while in a separate study, eMarketer sees messaging applications like Snapchat, Facebook and WhatsApp soaring to 2 billion users worldwide by 2018.

Wheel Video hopes to ride that wave of popularity, using the ability to collaborate as a hook that Snapchat, Instagram and even YouTube can't replicate. On Wheel, each video becomes an open-ended project that its community of users can be a part of.

Boukadakis describes Wheel as a natural engine for memes that have the potential to go viral, with users generating a joke or a dance that the following recipients can reinvent.

For example, high school beta-users of Wheel uploaded their best Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions, which quickly went viral and attracted the attention of The Terminator himself, who added his own story.

In this way, people who engage with Wheel "are actually trying to one-up each other on stories, which is making the content that much better," Boukadakis told CNBC.

While it opens creative doors for its users, Wheel Video also presents an innovative space for advertisers, the CEO explained. Just as Snapchat and IG have made vast sums opening their platforms to ads (and in Snapchat's case, selling customized filters), Wheel is exploring ways to match companies with users to create "interesting, unexpected and authentic content," Boukadakis added.

However, the terrain of the video content landscape is less than favorable to new entrants, and it's made the road tough for existing ones.

For one thing, Wheel faces the same obstacles any other content distribution platform does: trying to catch fire in an app store that's chock full of interesting but obscure add-ons. Additionally, giants like Facebook — which had a rare stumble with Riff, an upstart video platform that the social network pulled the plug on last year — have tried and failed at video collaboration.

Boukadakis told CNBC that Wheel has studied those past endeavors in order to avoid their pitfalls, designing its app in "fluid, easy and engaging" ways that other competitors lack. Meanwhile, the company is banking on its enthusiastic first-generation users to drive word of mouth.

"Our goal … was to find the right early adopters who saw the potential and were enthusiastic about collaboration and creating. Those users drive other users," he added.