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The Next Wave: User-Modified-Media?

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Simplicity. Usefulness. Interactivity. Collaboration. These are words that will define startup success in the future. But at this point it is difficult to crowbar into markets already dominated by phenoms like YouTube and MySpace. But if you can build on those platforms, rather than compete with them, there’s a recipe for success.

Tel Aviv-based Plymedia caught my eye earlier this week with the launch of an experimental example of what the company does, which is enable users to modify video by adding layered content. Say there is a video that a user wants to enhance. Plymedia developed a platform that allows users to overlay content, say geographic information, a clickable advertisement, or music, on the video itself and display it or distribute it.

Plymedia launched BubblePly Sunday, which we demonstrated on Monday. Bubbleply allows users to take a video off YouTube or other video-sharing site, and add speech or thought bubbles to the characters.

The platform is so simple that a person who knows how to work a mouse and a keyboard should be able to do it successfully: insert URL; BubblePly retrieves video, sets it up a Web-based application allowing the bubbles to be added; when finished, the video is submitted and instantly reappears with a new URL and code to be pasted onto a website or blog.

“We wanted to enhance the experience of the viewers,” Plymedia cofounder Ben Enosh told WebProNews. “Not only could you view it, but you could interact.”

“Response has been great,” said Yoni Silverberg, another cofounder. “We’ve seen a lot of ‘plys’ being generated.”

Plymedia, which is supported through angel funding, launched BubblePly as an invitation for the user-media to tinker with the concept. In a few years, video will not be the final product, says Enosh.

“We believe it’s another stage in the consumption of video,” said Enosh. Within a few years a video comes to you with extra layers…geographical information, different languages.”

The interactivity is high, but so is the potential for creative, adjustable advertising. The Plymedia website sets up how, in the past, video was final:

Video is currently conceived as a final product, edited at a given point of time and set in its final form by the original creator. Video is, in general, not hyperlinked or interactive in its viewing process, and does not enable the insertion of content into the video production. The viewer is given no active role in the creativity process. Commercially, all advertisements, product placing and other value chains associated with the video are fixed at the time of creation.”


So that ‘s where it becomes interesting to the marketer or advertiser. While the pre-roll video is considered annoying, and the post-roll video is most often ignored, a layer can be easily added. Say a user-producer runs a popular video blog, and Doritos wants to advertiser with him. Traditionally, the options are banners, text links, pre-roll and post-roll videos. With layering, Doritos could add a bag of whatever-the-new flavor is to a table in the background, and make it clickable.

Like product placement in the movies and television, the brand is present but unobtrusive (if done right, sometimes the placement is so blatant and heavy-handed that it takes away from the scene). But the product is also changeable. So when Doritos introduces the next new flavor, the same old video can be updated with the new bag.

Plymedia has there own example, again from their website:

It can also be interactive, operate as a link and be updated in real-time. For example, when watching a James Bond movie, by simply clicking on Bond’s watch, a new web page will open with a sales price for that specific watch on eBay. As the link is generated in real-time, when someone clicks on the Bond watch, a live auction for that item will open in a new webpage.

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