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{Updated 7.1.15 at 2:15 p.m. PT, with a statement from Sunday Sky.}

Video engages users like few other formats, but it has one main drawback. Outside of video games and a few exceptions, it’s usually presented as a fixed playback that is the same every time it plays.

Personalized video provider Idomoo hopes to change that with today’s release of its Dynamic Storybuilder Suite. If successful, the new offering takes us one step closer to the individualized video billboards envisioned in the movie Minority Report.

The Suite, utilizing the company’s existing Personalized Video Cloud Platform, bundles the tools that were previously only available as part of Idomoo’s turnkey service. It now allows any agency to create, en masse, data-driven live-action videos that are targeted at individuals.


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Here’s the basic idea:

A prebuilt, live action video contains tagged placeholders with dynamic elements. These dynamic elements can be replaced, on the fly, by text that is generated from data in a customer relationship management (CRM) system, or by personal imagery like photos. Head of marketing Ronit Soen told me that “millions of [personalized] videos can be generated” in near real-time.

The data creates text that appears in the dynamic elements in live-action scenes, such as your name on the side of a tree, on a billboard, or as lettered icing on a cake.

But the data can also come from other profile information. In the beta period for the Suite, for instance, financial institution Barclays created a video that generated text in the video scenes specifying the amount that customer was qualified to borrow.

Cadbury developed an algorithm to determine if you like chocolate and what kind, based on the public data in your Facebook profile. That info was then used to personalize their videos to each individual.

A text-to-audio generated soundtrack can similarly mention personalized info, including your name.

For Barclays, Idomoo recorded a person reading about a thousand of the most common names, which Soen said covered 80 to 90 percent of all users. The audio of those names was then automatically dropped into the soundtrack. Less common names — which are usually harder-to-generate as properly pronounced — were not included in the audio.

Soen told me that the new release rebuilds the turnkey service, with a web-based and streamlined interface, no coding required by the user, faster implementation, and a greater ability to scale.

There is also now a plugin for Adobe’s popular After Effects tool, which can be used to create customized video segments containing dynamic elements. Additionally, the generated video can also now be assembled in real time according to logic rules. There might be a different sequence of the same video, say, for a male viewer than for a female one.

Based in Tel Aviv and New York City, the company envisions their platform leading to the mass production of a variety of new personalized video services, like individualized dating videos or videos for use in a job search.

Soen pointed to a competing company, also in Tel Aviv, called SundaySky. But, she contended, their approach is Flash-based, it’s “like an animated PowerPoint,” and it doesn’t use live footage. Plus their videos have to be created in-house, like the old Idomoo.

There’s also Real Time Content, now owned by Pitney Bowes, and Impossible Software, as well as niche players for specific industries. But Idomoo, she said, uses a hardware-based video rendering engine and exceeds its competition with its high level of cinematic quality, as well as its ability to scale and deliver in near real-time.

In response to Soen’s comments about SundaySky, their CMO Jeff Hirsch sent us this statement:

“SundaySky works with global brands, such as AT&T, Comcast, Atlantis Paradise Island, and Cox Communications, to deliver personalized video engagements to sell to, share with and support their customers. To say that our SmartVideos are animated PowerPoints is inaccurate; SmartVideos are dynamically created in real time, utilize animation and live video, and are delivered flexibly across any channel or device.”

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