Featured Pitch: Coincident TV
Company: Coincident TV
Headquarters: San Francisco
Year Founded: 2008
Founders: David Kaiser and Bruce Schwartz
Investors: Privately funded
"Coincident TV is moving the world from web pages toward interactive online video experiences."
By David Kaiser, CEO
With the surging popularity of online video viewing, Coincident TV (CTV) is a new technology that transforms online video into a unique type of browser. It enables viewers to simultaneously watch a program while being presented with a vast menu of relevant online information, such as a given character’s Facebook page, a live Twitter feed, or a link to purchase the same type of hat another character is wearing. The sequence and combination of possibilities is only limited by the content creator’s desires and business objectives.
I was inspired to develop CTV in 2008 while watching the news on television with my laptop beside me. A story during the broadcast caught my attention, and I attempted to look up additional information on my computer. However, I quickly became frustrated with the disconnected experience. By the time I found the related story, I had completely lost my train of thought and also lost focus on the newscast. That simple yet profound experience motivated me to build a technology that would create a truly seamless online viewing and web surfing environment.
What I developed is a form of “hypervideo” technology: a simple-to-use software suite that combines online video, social media, weblinks and commerce into one immersive experience. At its core, CTV is a language to describe manipulating media (video, web display, web services and feeds). We are also developing third party tools, a player, an editor, an analytics portal and a PERL library application, that enable quick, intuitive creation and playback of CTV files. Over time, we anticipate that content publishers and software developers will embrace our language and build their own authoring tools to create better multimedia experiences.
Why are we doing this? In a nutshell, because audiences have adopted online video viewing at astonishing rates. According to a recent Nielsen report, there were more than 141 million unique video viewers in February 2010 and a whopping 10.3 billion videos were streamed in the same month.
With these types of numbers, it’s clear that people want both the instant gratification of using the Internet to connect and research, along with the entertainment value of video. To date, no one has been able to take these two parts and make them into a singular ecosystem. This is the void that CTV is filling, as well as providing rich monetization opportunities for content creators and great, unique exposure for brands.
On the topic of monetization, it’s no secret that media companies large and small are seeking long-term, profitable online content strategies. CTV is a solution that offers unique revenue-building opportunities through flexible online experiences enhanced by interactivity with brands, commerce and content. As an example, if you’re watching “Gossip Girl,” CTV can bring you inside the programming by enabling you to receive the same SMS texts that the show characters are receiving. This breaks the “fourth wall” barrier between you and the show, and it creates dynamic new ways for brands to interact with consumers.
We presently offer the CTV software suite as a license—much like any other software monetization model—so content creators can truly control their experiences and easily add the hypervideo elements they wish to the programs they want. You don’t need an engineer or even a video editor to build these hypervideos; a web producer with basic knowledge of video timelines can be trained in just a few days. You also don’t need to re-cut or edit existing episodes or video content. In fact, you can use any video served from any source to create CTV experiences. With CTV, the web becomes your hard drive.
It’s truly an exciting time for us at CTV. We had a tremendously successful private beta launch at the 2010 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show this April in Las Vegas. In addition to extending our private beta, we announced a creative partnership with Ascent Media’s Blink Digital, which will enable them to harness high-quality interactive experiences using our hypervideo editor.
Another highlight of the NAB Show was filming and editing participants right in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center, quickly assembling the clips with the CTV software, then providing live links to each video from our Twitter account. You can check them out yourself at http://twitter.com/coincident_tv.
The response from the demos at both the convention floor and our demo suite was nothing but positive and we built strong momentum for CTV and how this technology can change the game for online video viewing.
Our successful launch was preceded with another exciting content launch involving FOX and the hit show GLEE. Leading up to the April 13 premiere of GLEE, both CTV and FOX promoted an engaging “hypertrailer” with hallmark CTV features, including in-video links to the characters’ Facebook pages and the ability to Digg the video. The trailer generated a large increase in Facebook traffic for GLEE, and we gleaned incredible correlative data from tracking online behaviors within the application.
At the 2010 ad:tech San Francisco, CTV had the honor of being included in the event’s closing keynote by Lori Schwartz, executive director of the Interpublic Emerging Media Lab. Lori’s speech was titled “White Hot San Francisco Tech Companies & Why They Matter,” and CTV was recognized among an impressive list of new and upcoming companies. We also had the opportunity to demonstrate our software solution from the “Innovation Alley” exhibition hall, once again “wowing” the tech-savvy attendees.
In the coming weeks and months, CTV will roll out additional content partnerships with major networks, brands and online communities. Our team of 20 is literally changing the way we watch TV, and how the viewing experience can affect the conversation between fans, brands, and content owners. Video content is no longer only about who can develop the sharpest, most stunning picture quality or earth-shattering sound system. These are all noble pursuits, however what the CTV team and I get excited about each day is making a disruptive leap from a passive experience to an interactive “hyper” one.
Soon, people will talk as casually about interactive, hypervideo online experiences as they do downloading an MP3. When that day comes, we’ll know we’ve done our job.
Coincident TV – www.coincident.tv