If YouTube figured out how to get web video viewers to watch ads, it could enjoy a huge revenue stream from its tens of millions of users. Veeple is one of the companies that hopes it has figured this out. It’s not alone in this respect. But its technology is worth checking out.
The Los Gatos, Calif. company can embed anything — including advertising web page links — into videos. It does so by putting an interactive overlay on top of a video in the Adobe Flash format. It thus makes the video come alive with links and other creative features. Users can thus imprint their own thoughts on a video in the parts where they want and then share it with their friends.
You can place a “VeeSpot” on any part of a video and make that spot interactive. You can turn it into a speech or a thought bubble with a sarcastic message. You can also record a voice message that plays when someone clicks on the VeeSpot. If you want, you can quickly share that video with family, friends, or everyone you know.
With Veeple, you can also embed an ad link, such as an eBay logo, into a video. Users who click upon Madonna’s sunglasses in a video can thus link directly to a site where they can buy those glasses.
Scott Broomfield, CEO of Veeple, says that Veeple can distinguish itself from its rivals in a variety of ways. The company has its own object recognition technology that it can use to find and recognize objects within a video. Hence, if an advertiser puts a VeeSpot on an object in a video, that VeeSpot will appear whenever that object appears in the video.
“We consider these links within a video to be unintrusive to the viewer,” Broomfield said. “Since viewers aren’t putting up with 30-second commercials, we consider this to be the next logical step for video advertising.”
Users can rate videos and the most popular ones can rise to top lists on Veeple’s site based on things such as “video most interacted with,” most viewed, or highest rated. Broomfield said that the company is signing up partners. One is SoundFlavor, a music-buying site. If you click on a SoundFlavor link in a music video, you can go to a page where you can purchase the song. Licensees can take the code for the Veeple player and embed it on their own sites; users can also embed the player in their Facebook or MySpace pages.
“This is an example of how media companies can participate in the business model,” said Broomfield. “They can link back from a video on YouTube to their own site.”
The company has eight employees, mostly in Los Gatos, as well as consultants in Australia. The company started about 15 month ago and Broomfield joined a year ago. The company has raised money from angels so far and will raise a second round this summer.