Magisto’s service essentially applies an algorithm to the process of editing a short personal video. Magisto takes 10 minutes of video footage (using a mobile device or desktop web), five photos, and an audio track and then edits it down into a one-minute video clip. You can pick the editing style of the short movie, and the entire process takes up to 7 minutes. The service began as solely a video editing tool (one that had direct support within YouTube for a time), and it’s now trying to build its community via its own site, where you can store and group their various movies.
The startup’s rapid growth is likely due to how easy it is to craft a short personal video, which, let’s face it, is far more interesting than a boring slide show or a shakily filmed home movie from your dad that’s about 2 hours too long.
“What we’re seeing is a big shift in the way people are producing personal content with tools that make storytelling easier,” said Magisto chief marketing officer Reid Genauer in an interview with VentureBeat.
Over the last year, Magisto has seen perople upload 50 million minute-long videos, with users uploading an average of 2 videos per month, according to Genauer. Also, in the last six months, Magisto has seen people view its video content 53 million times. Why does this matter? Well, it has to do with the potential for generating revenue through sponsored and promotional advertising typical of more traditional media, such as television content. For example, a brand may want to offer their products for specific events where that would use Magisto video. Or perhaps a music label offers a portion of the debut song from an upcoming album that it would like to make available to Magisto users who may want to use it within their videos.
“We’re definitely going on a case-by-case basis right now to see what makes sense for these types of partnerships and promotions,” Genaur told me.
Genauer also said the viewing numbers add up in a way that’s comparable with the audience of a moderately popular television program’s weekly ratings, which he roughly estimates to be in the range of 3 million to 4 million viewers. And unlike traditional television ratings — which rely on sample testing and some assumptions about demographics — Magisto’s content doesn’t really need a rating to prove people are actually paying attention to everything within those videos because they’re all personal material that’s definitely relevant to maybe a handful of people. Yet Magisto videos also have the potential to gain mainstream appeal much in the same way user-generated videos go viral on YouTube and shared across the Internet,
Admittedly, it’s a stretch to compare it to the lucrative TV advertising market, but that’s mostly because there is no one size fits all ad promotional strategy. Still, Magisto is worth keeping an eye on if only to see how well they fair in monetizing personalized video content in the same way that major media companies sell promotional ads in hit TV shows.
The New York City- and Tel Aviv-based startup previously raised $5.5 million in second-round funding in September 2011 from Horizon Ventures, Magma Venture Partners, and others. Magisto has raised a total of $7.5 million in funding to date and is currently seeking to raise an additional round.