Trio: the next step in content creation

Alexa Phillips

Content creation company Meograph Inc. released their first mobile app, Trio March 4. Trio offers consumers the opportunity to create their own mashups using their own content and enhance it with third party assets from sources such as Instagram, Vine and Giphy.

Meograph Inc. is the brainchild of Misha Leybovich. Their first product was launched in July 2012 for the web as a multimedia creator tool that did well in education and journalism but made little money. With this tool, Meograph collaborated with PBS, where PBS gave students access to content from their website, and were asked to create a “Zeitgeist,” or a year in review of what they thought were the most important events of the year. They were then asked to use Meograph’s storytelling tool to compile the clips into a complete piece of media.

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Meograph’s second product was launched in September 2013 as a web widget used mainly with major sports and media consumers. This one made more money, but was lacking in mobile. This was used by organizations such as the NBA and the NCAA to make pieces of media such as rewind videos of major plays of the week or of the season.

Now, comes Trio, their first mobile app. What differentiates Trio from the likes of Instgram, Vine and YouTube is that users can supplement their own content with songs from the top charts on iTunes, gifs from Giphy, popular photos on Instagram and images and videos found on the Internet.

Photo Courtesy of Meograph
Photo Courtesy of Meograph

The idea for this app came from Leybovich’s extensive travels. He traveled to 70 countries in the seven years between ending graduate school and starting Meograph Inc. He collected a variety of media and was interested in presenting it in a new, interesting way, leading him to focus on creating mashups

“I was always looking for interesting ways to take some of my media, and incorporate third party assets to make new, interactive stuff,” Leybovich said.

He and his CTO, Clay Garrett, met while training for a marathon, and then Leybovich hired him to do contract work in the early stages of Meograph Inc. The further they got into the company, the more they both realized there was a big opportunity in letting people leverage other people’s assets.

“The fact of the matter is that we aren’t doing cool stuff all the time. We’re not capturing our own assets all the time, but you can be funny, creative, clever, snarky and commentary anytime of day, any day of the week, and anywhere,” Leybovich said.

With the evolution of the company, Leybovich and Garrett saw that people liked to use high quality, third party assets to then create new derivative content. They noticed that was a powerful concept, and no consumer app has yet to explore that. Thus, Trio was born.

“So much of the conversations we have today revolve around pop culture and the media, and there is no way to incorporate that in our social media communication, so we thought it would be cool to provide a world of pop culture media at your fingertips,” Garrett said.

Trio is able to use third party content because most of the media they include in the app are public APIs. This means that these companies — such as Instagram and Vine — are public with the intention of wanting their content to be shared on multiple platforms.

Trio takes it one step further, linking attribution back to where the content came from, to drive traffic back to the owners of that content. If it’s a photo from Instagram, it’ll take you to the owner’s page. If it’s a song, it’ll show you where to buy it on iTunes.

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In terms of their app engagement for the beta version on the iTunes, Leybovich and Garrett find that many people return to the app multiple times a day, and a good amount of time in the app. The stats are promising in anticipation for the alpha version’s release.

To build consumer engagement, Trio has a variety of built-in mechanisms that will let people know when their content is used for a mashup (“trio”), or when their trio is liked. This way, it will help to draw users back to the app with the idea that they will continue to use it to make trios.

“These mechanisms draw people into the app, and by doing so, it will help grow the app in a very viral fashion. The first step is to get those couple thousand early adopters and then let the app do its job,” Leybovich said.

Leybovich’s goal with the creation of this app is for ordinary people to create rich multimedia. According to Leybovich, there are two main aspects that are bundled together when it comes to creating media: that you have to do something cool, capturing those assets, and then doing something cool with those assets. Trio is trying to unbundle that.

“It’s less about ‘look at how awesome my life is’ and more about ‘look at how clever and creative I am.’” Leybovich said.

The app provides the entire work flow: inspiration on what to create, assets to those assets, an easy interface to assemble it, and a simple way to get it out in the world to your friends.

Trio can also aid in the creation of content marketing for brands. Brands like to offer engagement, which then produces sharable content, and if that content contains quality brand assets, it will prove to be shared successfully. Additionally, if those assets link back and provide some call to action, it would be an amazing tool for companies to utilize.

Trio has supporters such as the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. For journalists, Trio can be a way to share the news in a way where companies can provide their assets, such as photos and videos, and users can make something with them, mashing it with their own content, to share their own take on current events and news.

“You don’t just create when you’re at the computer. Create out in the world, where you always have your phone. The phone is where this creation needs to happen. It’s always accessible — anything you have, an idea or want to capture assets,” Garrett said.

With the design of the app itself, Garrett and Leybovich both had very different ideas when it came to what they wanted the interface to look like. Leybovich wanted a clean and minimal design, which Garrett wanted something beautiful and rich. The two met in the middle with an app that had a simple interface, but provided a rich experience.

The app is then tailored to the user and their personal content. The content that shows up on their personal feeds. It then makes it hard to perform a detailed search on Instagram, further than just a hashtag. The Trio team has worked to curate lists of the top users on some of their third party assets, such as the top Instagram users and the top Vine users.

“Eventually, we’ll be doing a lot more curation, because it is so much an important part of being able to create is finding cool, relevant stuff,” Garrett said.

At the end of the day, Leybovich’s goal with Trio is to break down the barriers to creation, by not being limited by the content selection, having access to that content or lack of inspiration. By breaking down the barriers, it encourages more creation, which then in turn, leads to a better user experience.

The app is available now to get free in the iTunes App Store.

Alexa Phillips is a writer for College Avenue.