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This video challenge app is taking the Ice Bucket to new levels

video challenge app video challenge app
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Dodo Ahanu

Hot Topics sits down with Joelle Hadfield, CEO of FightMe, to discuss how she is using challenges to create a movement around video.

Ever since YouTube hit the internet in 2005, the website has changed the way in which we use, share and view videos. As a result, it has inspired hundreds of websites and apps such as Vine and Instagram.

The FightMe app takes all of this this to a whole new level.

FightMe, is the first video challenge app which allows users to challenge each other around the world in 30 second clips.

Created by Jamie Lorenz and Joelle Hadfield in 2013, the app now has over 250 challenges from extreme sports to “high five a stranger”.

Unlike other video apps, FightMe doesn’t have a two dimensional nature of simply creating and viewing a video, it creates a virtual challenge hub where users compete and nominate their friends. Viewers can like the video with an “applause system” which gives talent and inspiring videos higher recognition from other users.

Hot Topics sits down with co-creator and CEO, Joelle Hadfield, to discuss the ambitions for her pioneering video challenge app.

Hot Topics: Tell us a little bit about the main principles of the FightMe video challenge app.

Joelle Hadfield: We are the world’s first competitive video challenge app and we’re all about starting a movement via video.

We really believe in this ideology of social interaction. So, for example, if you make a video via Instagram or Vine, it is kind of a solo feat, you do it by yourself and yes you get comments and likes (but we believe that video is a better medium) so we’re asking people to join in via video.

So we’re not about comments and likes, we’re about participation via video.

HT: Your Slogan is “don’t just make another video, create a movement.” How would you say that FightMe is different from other video sites such as YouTube and Vine?

JH: For us, it comes down to social interaction.

It’s a thirty second video challenge so it’s very specific to what you’re doing then you’re nominating your friends to join you via video.

You want it to be something that’s trending, it’s not just something that’s “hey here’s a video of my view and me in Thailand or this is a picture of my knee or my cat.”

You’re asking to make a purpose video. You’re making a video response, it is a movement behind video.

HT: One of the core beliefs is that challenging one another leads to progress. How would you say FightMe enables this?

JH: I think that we are all inherently competitive and that is fundamentally the essence of our business.

Ever since you were a kid, in the playground, you compete and that’s not necessarily a bad thing yet the word “to be challenged” can be seen as a negative thing.

It’s all about challenging oneself and one’s body and that’s our philosophy.

You have to keep bettering ourselves whether that’s through sports or through reading or whether that’s through anything that you do in your life.

It is all about being challenged and getting better with progression.

Hot Topics: The video challenge app creates competition on a virtual level. Do do you believe that this can lead to an impact on competitors’ offline lifestyles?

JH: I definitely think so and here is an example.

When we started the marketing we created a challenge using Tim Shieff, who’s a free runner world champion. He created a challenge on FightMe which was to flip anywhere so you have all these kids flipping in supermarkets and flipping in elevators.

You saw this beautiful progression of these kids coming out and participating in challenges which at the start they weren’t necessarily participating in.

It gives people the opportunity to get involved in things which they might not be a part of otherwise.

HT: FightMe is a unique platform for people to show off their talents and get spotted. How do you hope the app will help people with unacknowledged talents?

JH: I don’t think we are primarily just for talents, I think we are for anybody.

It isn’t about getting spotted but about inspiring others and challenging people.

However, I think there is a lot of talent on the platform and we work with something called a master creator program where we actually support the best dancers and skateboarders to create this amazing content.

But the trending challenges are the ones that anybody can join in and they don’t necessarily have a talent attached to it.

HT: Having gained a lot of recognition since you launched, what do you hope for the future of FightMe?

JH: Right now the focus is launching 2.0 of our video challenge app ,which is the version we are about to release into the app store now, and building this amazing infrastructure we have with master creators, key influencers and brands.

We’ve seen really rapid growth in the USA and I think the nature of the app is much more Americanized and people are more willing to participate.

What we’ve seen in Europe is that people are more about the content than participating whereas in America you say to a skater kid, “do a skate trick” and he’s like “sure, I’m gonna jump in straight away”.

It’s a different attitude on how we participate.

At one point we had over 60% of our users from the states and when we do the re-launch we’re going to be really targeting the states

HT: How do you plan on gaining more exposure?

JH: It mainly urban youth markets, underground scenes.

For example we have a lot of rappers and up and coming spoken word artists, as they call themselves.

Our targets are 16-25 year olds who have interests in music, extreme sports, arts, comedy etc. We’re really looking into those markets and the influences around that.

We look for people that have 20,000 people who religiously follow them and love what they participate in and want to have that social interaction via video.

You don’t get that on other platforms and here you are asked to join in through video and if somebody who you love and respects asks you to join in you’re going to want to participate, you’re going to want to be part of that movement.

Hot Topics: How do you plan on developing the app so that it doesn’t turn into a short term fad?

Joelle: Currently the team is focused on growing audience engagement and retention.

I guess when Instagram first started they obviously thought they were going to go into the market of editing amazing photos and in the end it became a part of Facebook which everyone started then started using.

They started off with something which ended up going somewhere else.

For us, we’re all about the challenge structure but it is really about how users interact with the platform and then making decisions based on that.

I don’t think we will become a one-time fad because we actually saw the retention rate of our old users coming back all the time and not just participating in a one-off challenge.

I guess it is all about listening to your audience and then deciding what routes to take after that.