By Randi Altman
Industry vet Lucas Wilson loves metadata. So much so he has built a company around it. Revelens offers non-disruptive web-based contextual video bookmarking. What’s that you ask?
Imagine watching an episode of your favorite show online and seeing a watch you might consider buying… if only you knew where to find it. That is where Revelens technology comes in. Tap or click on the screen to register a bookmark – you can either immediately swipe up to open the link and get the information you want, or just continue watching the show. When you do choose to open that bookmark there’s a link to the watch, there’s the UPC code, there’s the price, and information on the product.
While this gives broadcasters and video publishers additional revenue streams, it also allows the user to acquire immediate information about what they are viewing. Here’s another example: you are watching a show with an actor whose name you can’t place. Just tap/click and swipe. Or maybe someone mentions a time in history you want to know more about. Tap or click on the screen, swipe up, and bookmark links take you to that information.
This technology is designed to make interaction with video easy and non-invasive, and the video publisher can dynamically decide what to offer the user. According to CEO/president Wilson, the Revelens back-end provides the data behind a video while the actual front-end customer experience lives in a standard player on top of any existing streaming website. When a video that is Revelens-enabled comes up, the back-end is listening for taps, clicks and swipes, and provides the information asked for on demand.
It’s also up to the video publisher to let you know that what you are watching is enabled with video bookmarking. Some Revelens clients include an explanatory pre-roll on the beginning of all their videos. One specific customer — a Web-based episodic — has a star of the show walk people through the experience. “There are three categories of things people generally do when they interact,” explains Wilson. “There’s monetization, socialization and information. They’re either clicking to buy; they want to share a moment or link with somebody; or they want more information — whether it’s an IMDb link or maybe a link to enhanced storylines.”
Currently companies are trying to find different ways to get their message in front of people, whether it’s a video you have to watch before you get the content you want or a pop-up ad, etc. “Right now in the Internet video world, there’s billions of dollars being spent and hundreds of companies creating technology meant to show you something you might be interested in quickly enough before you find the button that makes it go away,” says Wilson. “I think that’s a terrible system. The goal of Revelens is to allow the viewer to control the experience, engaging only with what they are interested in and when. They are much more likely to follow through on a purchase or a click-through if they’re the ones driving the engagement.”
Revelens is also tracking where and what people are tapping on and providing those valuable analytics to the video provider.
Wilson is quick to point out that the traditional media and entertainment monetization model is just one vertical Revelens is after. He points to the story engagement model; things designed to pull you into the story. Maybe it’s a Nike ad talking about Title IX, a federal program meant to eliminate gender-based discrimination in school programs. As you watch, tap and swipe, you can learn more about what Title IX is and how you can get involved in different organizations supporting the cause.
“We are handing them the information at the exact moment that they’re engaged and interested,” explains Wilson. “Again, they’re much more likely to follow through and click through to wherever the links in the bookmark shelf take them.”
Another vertical is higher education. Revelens is in talks with several universities about using the technology in online lectures. If a student is watching but is confused by a certain point or part of the lecture, they can tap, swipe and then expand the bookmarks, so the student sees further links with a richer set of information about the point of confusion. In addition, the university can then also get analytics feedback highlighting the student’s interaction. This informs the university about its online program effectiveness.
Working With The Customer
In terms of setting up a customer with the technology, Wilson says it’s straightforward. “They have to work with us to integrate into their player stack, which is basically their web team talking to our integration team.”
In terms of pricing, he explains, “There’s an initial charge to install and integrate the platform and its accompanying back-end. Then, after a grace period as the platform gains user traction, we go to a SaaS model and start counting ‘bookmarks per month.’”
Part of the analytics, says Wilson, is keeping track of every time a viewer creates a “reveal,” which is the combination of adding and then opening a bookmark. “Every time there is a reveal, that increments a counter. That counter is tied to a standard sliding scale model — meaning it’s free up to a certain amount, and then it moves into a scaled, priced tier.”
In addition, Keycode Media, a technology solutions and integration provider in the media and entertainment space, is the first external sales and integration partner for Revelens.
While there are others out there using Revelens, two that Wilson can talk about are www.theinfluence.com, a celebrity fashion and lifestyle site that’s launching in the next three weeks, and a Web-based episodic show called In Between Men. “They’ve had two very successful seasons on the Web and Season 3, which is Revelens enabled is launching in a few months.”