Talking tech since 2003

Why would you want to just read a Tweet from your favorite celebrity when you can laugh with, party with, rap with or hang with them?  That’s the idea behind the increasingly popular Hang w/ app, which allows users (including celebrities) to share live-streaming video in real time of what they’re up to with their friends and fans.

The Hang w/ app, which gained 100,000 users in its first six weeks on iOS in March, has been available on Android for about a month and has racked up almost 400,000 users with more than 8 million user sessions.  Hang w/ also recently closed a $2 million Series A investment for the app.

Hang w/

The app is taking social media to the next level by creating more personal, deeper interactions between celebrities and their fans, including Paula Abdul, Soulja Boy, Terrell Owens, and Timbaland.  Hang w/, likened to a “live video Twitter,” turns anyone into a broadcaster by allowing them to share short live videos.   The app limits the real-time video to three minutes to keep users engaged.

“It keeps things fresh and leaves people wanting more,”  said Dave Swartz, co-founder of developer MEDL Mobile.  “We want people to get an insight into the world of a variety people who broadcast, and if you are engrossed in watching one person, this can’t happen”

The difference between Hang w/ and other apps on the market is the real-time aspect.  Unlike other apps that only allow users to share archived video, Hang w/ lets users share in real time like a broadcaster on a live television channel.

“Hang w/ is all about being in the moment,”  Swartz said.  “Other social video apps allow you to share archived video which is great, but it’s not the same as experiencing something in real time.”

Streams can be shared to Facebook or Twitter by anyone, unlike the recently released Upfront app, which only allows celebrities to broadcast content.  But the benefit for all users, particularly for celebrities, is the ability to make money by earning a share of the ad revenue they bring in from their broadcasts.

“All users will have the opportunity to earn revenue from Hang w/,” said Swartz.  “Once they hit certain minimum requirements, broadcasters will have the opportunity to earn a percentage of their broadcasting advertising revenue.”

By not just limiting Hang w/ broadcasters to just celebrities, the app has the potential to grow even more.  But the more big-named celebrities that sign on, the more likely it will appeal to the masses.

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