November 6, 2014
We’ve all used or visited a page on SoundCloud at one point or another, and one of the resounding positives I hear from people about the platform is the user comments on the song. That is, you can add a specific comment at any point during the song that other users can see without leaving the song. No doubt, it’s a great idea, but it seems as if it might be better utilized when dealing with video.
Wendell Brown, the Chairman and co-founder of Vusay, founded his platform specifically to give video viewers the ability to add comments at specific moments in videos. Viewers can see comments flowing along the side of the video while it’s playing, rather than leaving the video screen to scroll down below. According to Brown, it’s this time-linked commenting that allows for a more meaningful engagement in video.
The platform is disrupting the fast-growing online video industry with this immersive way for fans to engage with media, brands, and millions of other viewers around the world. Vusay’s free embedded technology integrates with virtually any video player on video content websites, making the old scroll-down commentary format thing of the past.
I had a chance to catch up with Brown, a long time entrepreneur, and learn more about this disruptive new technology.
Tech Cocktail: What inspired Vusay?
Wendell Brown: I was watching an online video of some politicians and wished I could join in the debate. I had my laptop and keyboard, but there was no way for me to join in the conversation; there were specific moments that I wanted to highlight and comment on, but there was no easy way to do that.
The only way to read or write comments about specific moments was to leave the video screen, scroll down, then write in my comments the minute and second I was talking about and then go back to the video. It felt so old-school, inconvenient, and inefficient. It also hindered the interactive dialogue I wanted to have with other viewers.
Up to now, video has been seen as mostly a one-way, passive viewing activity. The reality, however, is that online videos continue to grow in popularity and social sharing. So, why can’t we highlight the moments that matter most in a video, and then use social video commentary to communicate with one another too?
I looked at the huge popularity of vloggers, some of whom have become major celebrities simply by filming themselves doing everyday things. Then I thought: “We’ve got to make videos truly interactive and give viewers a voice.” With reports from Accenture, Nielsen, and many more concluding that consumers crave more video content online, I was sure the time was right for this idea.
Tech Cocktail: What’s your analysis of the competition in this field?
Brown: Vusay is powered by patented technology; there is no one else doing what we are doing. There are other commenting sites that apply to websites, but not to video in real time. The interaction and ease of commenting and viewing is what makes Vusay unique and stand-alone.
Currently we’re capitalizing on that by building an audience via social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, where we target verticals such as humor, music, entertainment, and sports. In addition, we’re reaching out to people on LinkedIn, using public relations to business, tech and consumer press, and content marketing. Our biggest marketing method is through our media partnerships, through which we soon expect to see a massive uptake of Vusay.
Tech Cocktail: How might Vusay shape the future of the video market?
Brown: We’re taking video from a one-way media to a two way community. Vusay is about people connecting with other people, through videos, on the topics that matter to them. Every moment matters.
Most important, Vusay has a proven revenue model through native and display advertising proprietary ad engines. Media partners can also add “buy now” links in Vusay messages that help drive sales. Each individual Vusay user (Vusayer) sees ads that are custom built to their interests.
We’ve been receiving extremely positive reactions from consumers who have been Vusaying on Vusay.com. They enjoy the clean interface and unique ability to comment in a way no other platform allows. We’re now gearing up to launch with some major media companies in Europe, which will bring an overnight increase of millions of new users to the Vusay platform.
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