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Cinemacraft, a US-based company focused on improving video consumption online is now entering India and are in close talks with various production houses to deploy Videogram, a service that displays keyframes from a video in a tiled interface than restricting it to a single thumbnail. The company had raised $1.5M strategic funding from NTT DoCoMo, Turner Broadcasting’s Media Camp and 500 Startups earlier this year. It had also received a seed round of $500,000 from 500 Startups and angel investors, bringing Cinemacraft’s total funding to $2 million. 

Cinemacraft claims that Videogram almost doubles the engagement on videos and had tied up with CBS to promote four new comedies they launched — The Crazy Ones, ‘Mom,’ ‘We Are Men’ and ‘The Millers’. Sony Pictures Entertainment, 21st Century Fox, Disney, Turner, Bravo and Universal Music Group have also used Videogram in the past to their videos. It will be launching with major ad agencies in Japan and US  shortly.

Sandeep Casi, Founder and CEO at Cinemacraft says that they have just started their India operations. “We are in close talks with various production houses to deploy Videogram. We are also launching videogram as an ad unit on Twitter and Facebook for India market. However, we are not making any announcements today but we will let you know as soon as we are ready to make one.”

That being the case, we saw the service being used during Dhoom 3 promotion, but it’s not clear if that was part of a tie-up or an experiment by Yash Raj Films, that has a digital strategy planned for Dhoom 3.

 

Rahul Golecha, Founding member of Cinemacraft and VP Cloud Engineering says that they have recently integrated Google Ad support to Videogram. Now publishers will be able to replace one of the tiles with an Ad. Also, when you hover over any videogram tile, segments within that frame are displayed in a Vine style UI to get better insight about each clip. It also needs to be pointed out that tile ads are visible while a Videogram is being preview on Twitter as well.

About the technology: The technology that goes into Videogram can be traced back to research done at FX Palo Alto labs in 2002 that Casi was a part of. However, online video hadn’t taken of back then so he moved on to other projects. In 2012, realising that video discovery and display had become an issue, he went to FX Palo Alto Lab and licensed the patents to create Videogram.

Monetisation strategy: Videogram helps content companies and advertisers monetise using the tiled interface on their existing video platforms. The technology compliments existing platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Ooyala, Brigthcove, Kultura, etc and doesn’t disrupt any existing pre-roll or banner ads that are overlaid on top of the video player.

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However, Videogram will help content companies get more ad revenue from existing video assets.  Some of the tiles in a video can be replaced by an ad which can then be monetised using CPI, CPC models or by using affiliate fee. It is also possible for content creators to insert a trending video as one of the frames and they can place an additional smart-roll ad unit before the video plays. Apart from Google ads, content creators can plug-in their own ad platforms into this service.  Casi says that they will also be relying on platform licensing and campaigns fee to make money.

These tiles on Videogram can also be used to link to any webpage, for example companies can have a tile asking them to follow an official twitter id or like a facebook page. We asked for an example of how this would work and folks at Cinemacraft sent us this:

(In case you were distracted by Priyanka Chopra, this videogram also has a Medianama tile that links to our Twitter id)

Issues

– Not everyone will be able to create Videograms with their own Twitter or Facebook ids embedded in them. To monetise these tiles and link to websites from within a videogram, one will have to tie-up with the company and this is a bit of a bummer. I’m sure there are several people who make a living creating videos on YouTube that might be interested in such a product.

– The initial snapshot generated by Videogram took a while for me to load and this issue needs to be fixed.