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TECH
Ptch
A social app mashes content into dynamic slideshows
by James Thorne
on 19 July 2012

A newcomer to the cutthroat world of social media backed by DreamWorks, Ptch sources content from popular services like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, giving users the chance to remix media to their heart's delight. The idea is to create "snackable media" by mashing up text, video, images and audio into 60-second slideshows or videos. The personalized one-offs can then be broadcast across channels, a full composition taking mere minutes to complete. Rather than limiting the sharing to the user's own content, all media aggregated from social feeds are fair game for users to "ptch" to their friends.

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"We're calling this living media," explains Ptch CEO and DreamWorks veteran Ed Leonard. "The notion is that if you see something you like, you can very quickly express it and make it yours." An interesting element of Ptch is that it occupies a interim between content creation and consumption. Since slideshows published by others are easily broken down into their original elements, all it take is a simple drag to add an image or video to your own pitch. This effect snowballs, making content created on Ptch "infinitely mashable," says Leonard.

With the option to add text and background music, the program takes quality of content to the next level—essentially acting as an on-the-go movie suite. Preset styles—from "Classic" to "Vivid" and "Vintage"—determine the image filter, transitions and accompanying music. Social comments, title screens and captions are also displayed in a manner consistent with the chosen style. A small annoyance, choosing a style overrides previous music choices, although users can reselect music afterwards. There are currently eight styles, although the company plans to open source additional options.

With a few exceptions, Ptch pulls from any place where users share content on the web. As Leonard explains, "Ptch sits as a dashboard across all of your social media, so we're not trying to compete or take the place of what you use today—we're really trying to make that more powerful and more expressive." After playing around with stills and video, we found that the mix of mediums adds a dynamic element that is unique to Ptch as a social tool.

Ptch is available free of charge from the iTunes app store.

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