PLYmedia, online video gets interactive

(Italian version here)

Video on line is cool but it’s not interactive. You just click on it and that’s all: you can do nothing but watch it. Certainly there are a lot services that can be built around videos or special effects that can be put in them, but that’s all: the user will watch the show and interact with the site, using whichever service the site developers did provide.

Fair enough. But what if the video itself would be interactive? What if you and users could easily add “commentary, multilingual subtitles, hypervideo, in-video advertising and rich-media increasing the cultural and commercial value of your existing video properties”? What if all this in-video enhancing tools would be really easy to use?

There is a young firm who did the magic. Its called PLYmedia and just got to second place in the Leweb3 2007 startup competititon. I was there and had a nice chat with Amichai Zuntz, VP of sales for the european market:

Alessio Jacona: How does the PLYmedia platform work?

Amichai Zuntz: we do not touch the original video. It comes from the original site an we put over it a layer which, for example, can show subtitles, ads or other kind of objects.

AJ: so your platform works like a filter?

AZ: it’s something different: we are enriching the video by adding more layers of information. This way, everyone can use them to enhance their video content with new functions. Of course the layers exist only in our server, where they are mixed up with the original video. We generate a new link to the video + layer and give users the possibility to embed it in their site.

AJ: What do these layers do?

AZ: our technology, called PLY Platform, allows to stream independent contents together with an existing video file. So we developed four different services: the first i SubPLY, which allows user to add subtitle to their wideo and get trough the languege barriers. We offer a translation service but we can also give to the customers all the tool to create subtitles by themselves.

AJ: How do the other services work?

AZ: With InfoPLY you can add contextual video-related info so the user can watch the video and add specific informations about a character or about the story. With BubblePLY the users can easily add cin-video links, pop-up bubbles, text, images, clipart and subtitles to any video. The “new product” can then be posted on any blog, personal or company home page or corporate dashboard.

AJ: What about advertising?

AZ: you can easily add it to your video using AdPLY. This service enables users to work on metadata and make their advertising relevant for the public.

AJ: how long did it take to develop the PLY Platform?

AZ: It took two years, but now we can interact with almost every online video broadcaster or video aggregator. Our service is online since December 2006 with more than 10 millions users. Our goal is to became a major player in Europa during the coming year.

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