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This Startup Pays Users to Watch Ads While Streaming Their Favorite Shows Forget opting for an ad-free tier — YuVee will pay you to watch more ads.

By Sherin Shibu

Key Takeaways

  • A free app called YuVee launched late January in beta and currently allows users to earn gift cards for opting to watch ads.
  • The platform also combines streaming platforms and uses AI to personalize recommendations.
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People will usually pay more not to see ads — Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime all command higher subscription fees for users who want ad-free streaming.

But YuVee, a free new app that launched in beta in late January, is taking a different approach to streaming: The startup gives users personalized AI recommendations across 200 streaming platforms and allows users to make money by watching ads.

William Santor. Credit: Productivity Media Inc.

William Santor, YuVee co-founder and the CEO of entertainment studio Productivity Media, told Entrepreneur that YuVee is like an airport for streaming — it's not the destination, but it wants to be an important part of getting to the right place.

"Wouldn't it be great if there was one place that had all of my streaming services?" Santor asked. "That was where YuVee started."

Related: Max, HBO Will Start Cracking Down on Password Sharing Soon

We got a peek at the app in action. Here's how it works.

How It Works

YuVee combines all of a user's streaming services into one place. Users can connect to more than 200 streaming platforms, including free and paid platforms from Tubi to Max.

Credit: YuVee

However, YuVee is not a streaming service; users only watch ads and get tailored AI recommendations of what to watch next within the YuVee app. After watching the ads, users are redirected to the streaming service that offers the title they selected.

"Companies are monetizing time, but we don't get much in exchange for that," Santor said. "If you're going to spend the time anyway, why not make a couple of bucks too?"

Opt For More Ads, Earn More Money

Every ad you watch translates to "Yu Points," which are in turn redeemable for gift cards from over 700 retailers and other rewards. Users can choose to watch up to 10 ads for each program they select.

In the demo, Santor showed Entrepreneur a 30-second ad that earned about 5 points, with 5,000 points converting to a $10 gift card. The minutes of ads watched to earn points depends on the advertiser.

Santor said he expects the points-to-dollars ratio to get better as YuVee accelerates.

Related: Commercials Are Coming to Amazon Prime Video Next Month

The startup also does prize drops in the middle of ads and plans to introduce leaderboards with incentives for top performers. If someone refers family members or friends to the platform, they could earn a percentage of the ad revenue generated by the people they refer.

AI Recommendations

Recommendations on streaming services like Netflix "generally don't hit the mark," Santor said. Giving a thumbs up or down can tell the platform what the user thinks, but it leaves out "why" they feel that way.

"'What do you want to watch tonight' is the new 'Where do you want to go for dinner?'" Santor said. "You do care about the answer, you just don't want to make a decision."

To fill in the gap, the company said it trained its AI on over six billion data points, including audience member reviews from places like IMBD and Metacritic and reviews on various social media platforms.

Related: ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros Are Launching a New Sports Streaming Service. It Could Change TV Forever.

YuVee users can access the resulting AI recommendation engine through the YuPix tab on the app, which asks them what they're in the mood to watch, how much time they have, and who they're watching with (their partner, their kids, or alone).

Santor says the company plans to introduce a fully interactive AI avatar later this year to recommend content to users based on what it learns about them.

YuVee is available now in beta in the U.S. and Canada through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, with access to web browsers and CTV coming later this year.

Sherin Shibu

Entrepreneur Staff

News Reporter

Sherin Shibu is a business news reporter at Entrepreneur.com. She previously worked for PCMag, Business Insider, The Messenger, and ZDNET as a reporter and copyeditor. Her areas of coverage encompass tech, business, strategy, finance, and even space. She is a Columbia University graduate.

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