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Sony has made an investment in video startup Kiswe. While the amount wasn’t disclosed, Kiswe has now raised $46 million since its inception in 2013.
The Sony Innovation Fund has invested in New Jersey-based Kiswe, which is scaling to meet the demand for its cloud-based interactive video solutions for both content creators and rights holders.
Other investors include Revolution’s Rise of the Rest; Hybe Corp. (owner and manager of the popular K-Pop boy band BTS); Ted Leonsis, founder and CEO of Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE), and New Enterprise Associates (NEA).
The company will use the money to expand its sales efforts for Kiswe’s Cloud Video Engine for content rights holders around the world who aim to deliver interactive video experiences for their consumers and build their own audience data for marketing and learning.
“When you combine sports, live music, and ecommerce, our addressable market represents a multi-billion dollar opportunity which we are uniquely positioned to address with our cloud-based production, live-streaming, fan engagement, and video commerce products,” said Kiswe
CEO Mike Schabel, in a statement. “We are thrilled that Sony Innovation Fund by IGV recognizes and backs our vision.”
At-home consumers have made permanent changes to online behavior, from consuming video content to shopping. The investment is a strong endorsement of Kiswe as the global leader in interactive video solutions that not only deliver extraordinarily high-quality video, at a record-breaking scale, to consumers across the world but also authentically recognize and engage these at-home consumers by bringing their cheering and video to the stage and to the broadcast.
The home audience is huge and is served today with lean-back made-for-tv content that assumes a monolithic audience. Kiswe knows that actual audiences encompass a wide spectrum of demographic interests. They want to participate, they want to be recognized for their ‘fandomship’, and they want to matter.
“We think that can happen for all live content, whether that is music, sports, news, talk shows, etc.,” the company said in an email to VentureBeat. “Our technology has been in commercial use for a few years and based on data and insights, we’ve been able to create a formula that makes fans matter. If we can help bring that vision of video to the industry, then we’ll have accomplished what we set out to do.”
In total, Kiswe helps rights holders monetize their content directly with consumers, helps consumers feel like a true part of the event, and creates untold opportunities for advertising and data insights.
“Kiswe’s impressive video production and service offering is used by some of the largest rights holders and associations on some of the largest global stages and events in sports and entertainment, said Gen Tsuchikawa, chief investment manager for Sony Innovation Fund and CEO of Innovation Growth Ventures. “Their proprietary technology solutions and knowledge put them in a strong position to shape and lead a new era of video capturing the performance of renowned stars as well as aspiring ones.”
The Kiswe Cloud Video Engine is the only end-to-end SaaS solution for Video 2.0, where live video intentionally includes the live audience. Kiswe’s turnkey solutions are sold to content rights holders and creators to help them cost-effectively create and deliver content and engage
audiences around the world and at scale.
With its world-class Cloud Video Engine, Kiswe has delivered the world’s largest digital pay-per-view events and serves the largest sports, media, and entertainment companies with its production, content distribution, and direct audience data solutions. The company has 65 employees.
“Kiswe has unique streaming technology which provides a differentiated experience at scale. The keyword here is interactive – we are engaging audiences virtually and enabling them to contribute to events as though they were in-person. One thing we have mastered is the delivery of real-time multi-language closed captioning to serve international audiences,” the company said. “What we learned, however, is that just sending video to a consumer is half the experience. If a fan is watching a live event at home and cheering wildly, and nobody knows, did they make an impact?”
The company added, “Part of being a fan is that your contribution matters and impacts the event. Our platform includes a huge portfolio of tools that allow fans to cheer – by hitting buttons or by contributing video, which we use to produce a huge virtual fan camera that we include in the event. We also have multiview technology with fast-switching that empowers fans to curate their own storylines. When fans contribute and see that their contribution makes a difference in the event, the experience becomes exceptional. Then they become part of the story.”
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