Vividas Simplifies Delivery Of Full-Screen Online Video
Vividas Group plc has launched in the United States a streaming video service for content providers and advertisers looking for an easy way to deliver full-screen pictures to consumers.
Neil Speakman, executive chairman of the London-based company, said Wednesday that advertisers in Australia and Europe have used the technology because of the size and quality of the picture, and because the video doesn't use traditional media players, such as RealPlayer from RealNetworks Inc., Windows Media Player from Microsoft Corp., and QuickTime from Apple Computer Inc.
Other streaming video may require a consumer to download one of those players or obtain the latest version. Such hassles make it less likely a person would take the additional steps to see an ad.
"People have been trying for a long time to deliver full-screen video (easily), and that's what we've achieved," Speakman said. "To be able to do it without a player to install is a very important step. This means we're immediately accessible to 95 percent of all computers."
Video delivered through Vividas is played through a 300KB player that's downloaded into the browser's temporary file folder. The content is delivered mostly through Akamai Technologies Inc., a content-distribution company; and the video is streamed using compression technology from On2 Technologies.
The player supports PCs and Macs, but not yet Linux machines. On the PC, video can be played through Internet Explorer and the open-source browser Firefox, developed and marketed by Mozilla Corp., and through Safari on the Mac, the company said.
Vividas is currently testing its technology with several unnamed U.S. companies. Beer company Foster's Group, Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar division and the Lexus division of Toyota Motor Co. have used the technology in ads shown in either Europe or Australia. The technology was also used to show the trailer for "Madagascar," an animation film from Dreamworks SKG; and director Steven Spielberg's science-fiction movie "War Of The Worlds," starring Tom Cruise.
While showing a full-size ad can be impressive to some consumers, it doesn't alter the fact that the content needs to be engaging and relevant to the person watching it, Harry Wang, research analyst for Parks Associates, said.
"If the ad isn't very relevant to their needs, than this can become an offensive act," Wang said.
One drawback with the technology is that it doesn't make it clear how to turn off the video. Pressing the escape key will close the window, but that fact is not made clear before the download. There are no buttons to minimize or close the screen once the video starts playing.
"If they were to provide a button to pause (the video) or minimize it, so consumers can get out, that would be more conducive to their usage pattern," Wang said. "But at the same time, advertisers might not want to see that."
Besides marketing, Speakman believes the technology will be useful to corporations looking to distribute conference videos, messages from chief executives or other information internally.
"That's a very hot area for us, because there's hardly a U.S. corporation that doesn't have trouble communicating with its staff worldwide," Speakman said.
In addition, the company is targeting corporations that show sporting events or distribute entertainment over the Web.
Vividas, which is publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange, has 40 employees. The company had about $2 million in revenues last year, Speakman said. The company charges a fee for converting video to its format and for delivering it over the Web. In time, the company plans to license its technology.
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