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Innovid, a startup working on technology that will empower video content producers to place interactive virtual items into their videos, has raised $4.1 million in funding from Genesis Partners and T-Venture, the venture capital company of Deutsche Telekom. This brings the startup’s total funding to $7.1 million, according to Techcrunch. Innovid has integrated iRoll in campaigns for many top brands such as Kraft, Hyundai, Buick, Disney Pictures, and Sony. The startup’s publishers include 80 per cent of the webÙs top video publishers including partnerships with NBC, MTV, Fox, and Tremor Media.
Will we be seeing interactive pre-roll ads coming to the living room in the future? They are aiming at Connected TV in Europe it appears.
The funding and partnership with Deutsche Telekom will help the startup hire additional staff and expand to mobile, connected-tv and European markets.
The pre-roll is becoming a standard ad unit in online video. And there are problems with the format on the web, says Jim Louderback from Advertising Age.
Here's the problem with pre-rolls: Users hate them, just as they hate pop-ups, pop-unders, those annoying Vibrant word definitions and auto-playing audio and video ads. But they are effective -- and the selectable variants are even more so: double the click-through rates of traditional pre-rolls, and nearly three times the recall.
Unfortunately, I'm afraid they also depress video sharing and snacking -- which is ultimately how a video goes viral, and how new creators build audiences. We'll soon find out whether this is true, because it appears that YouTube will put pre-rolls on many of their more popular producers as well, including the ones that benefit most from virality.
The virtual items facilitated by Innovid are basically 3D objects that producers insert into videos post-production. They’re intended to look as realistic as possible so that they blend in with the real physical environment recorded by the video. And yet, they can’t go entirely unnoticed because users are encouraged to click and perform mouse gestures (or TV remote in the future?) with them to derive additional functionality (for example, to view a popup description about the particular item with links to external resources).
The most obvious use of these items would be to simply drop branded items into user generated content. If you’re looking to monetize your video, you could, for example, sign a deal with a beverage company and place their product on the table during an indoors scene. The virtual item representing the beverage could then respond to camera movements; when the camera moves around to the left, you also see the left side of the beverage appear. This is possible because the 3D object has been mapped to its calculated surroundings.
But with Innovid’s object placement, you could also make it so that users who click on the beverage see a description of it and the stores in which it’s sold. Or you could allow the user to even move the beverage to another location within the video or have it perform a special effect when clicked on. Whatever the complexity, the object becomes a more effective advertisement through its interactivity.