Former Hulu CTO launches ‘Home Shopping Network for millennials’


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Despite the success of e-commerce giants like Amazon (AMZN), there are few if any online sites serving up shopping as sheer entertainment the way QVC (QVCA) or HSN (HSNI) do on TV.

But a new iOS app called Unboxed aims to fill that void by offering hours of original, hosted shows that spotlight tech gadgets and videos pulled from YouTube. All of them feature a central theme: unboxing products. (Yes, really.)

According to Packagd CEO Eric Feng, who developed Unboxed, there’s a very good reason for that. Unboxing videos are a popular genre on YouTube with huge cult followings. One unboxing video of the popular Nintendo Switch has fetched nearly 2.9 million views since early March; another unboxing video of Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 7 Plus generated over 1.5 million views. But perhaps the award for “most-watched” unboxing video of a gadget goes to this adorable unboxing of a 6-volt Spider-Man toy car, with more than 212 million views.

“I’ve been working in video for over a decade and long believed that commerce can be inspired by video,” said Feng, who is also a general partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and previously served stints as chief technical officer at Hulu and Flipboard.

“One thing we knew from the get-go: we didn’t want to try to change consumer habits,” Feng added. “We wanted to build a platform that mapped to what consumers were already doing. QVC and HSN have proven that shopping as entertainment works, and that’s what Unboxed offers to a younger generation of shoppers. It’s like the Home Shopping Network for millennials.”

Packagd CEO Eric Feng

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Packgd CEO Erin Feng previously worked as chief technical officer at Hulu and Flipboard and also currently serves a general partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. Source: Packagd.

People consume 10 billion hours of product unboxing videos each month on YouTube, according to Feng. Google (GOOGGOOGLalso reported in November 2014 that 62% of people who watch unboxing videos are researching a potential purchase. Translation: Not only is there a huge audience for Unboxed to potentially tap into, but that audience is serious about spending their hard-earned cash.

“With Unboxed, we think we can connect influencers to consumers in a more meaningful way through commerce,” Feng said. “We are also creating a home for content creators to make more money, better engage with their fans and build their brands.

People who download Unboxed will find up to six hours a day of original programming featured at the top of the app from unboxing hosts who have millions of social media followers, including Austin EvansDom EspositoChris Denker, and Frank Passalacqua.

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