Quick.tv Off The Launchpad To Monetise Online Video

Online video advertising has hitherto been characterised by pre-, post- and mid-roll ads, reassuringly familiar to viewers switching from linear TV but a clunky model out of step with the internet’s interactive potential.

Delivering brand engagement is core to ad agency activity but measuring the effectiveness of an online campaign has proved as problematic as getting viewers to interact with video in the first place.

Quick.tv, a start-up from North East England, aims to crack both nuts with its eponymous white label service which enables publishers to manage, analyse and output online video with the option to add ads and search engine optimisation tools.

It’s already attracted the attention of Microsoft, which garlanded it as a ‘Startup of the Day’ and publishing platform Brightcove with which Quick.tv has “had early discussions about how we would fit into their ecosystem,” says 24-year old co-founder Nick Bell less than cryptically.

What makes Quick.tv’s technology attractive is its intuitive design. “If you can use PowerPoint you can use this,” says Bell.

Figure 1
Quick.tv's tools interface, which includes e-commerce and ad agency selections.

Once video is uploaded the user can drag a variety of advertising tools into the mix including hotspot pop-ups, image and text overlays, RSS tickers for realtime price and stock updates, chapter markers, forms and voting polls. All of this plus the usual number metrics like number of views and links clicked and drop off rates (exactly where people exit) is recorded by the system’s own analytics by way of an embed code when the video is published. The site supports HD and SD and all major video formats.

“Brands or agencies can see exactly what works and what doesn’t by drilling into each interactive layer,” says Bell. “By putting control of the video and these calls to action in the hands of the content owner we’re turning internet video from a branding exercise into something powerful that you can directly generate money from.”

It is aimed at professional video producers and small digital agencies, which Bell calls the self-serve market, and the “enterprise market” for large scale agencies and publishers.

A subscription model, its billing is based on volume of playout hours rather like a mobile phone contract. A number of hours are included in a bundle (typically £75 (US122) a month) with additional charges for hours exceeding that.

Its main CDN relationship is with CDNetworks but Bell says, “We’re CDN agnostic and we’ll work with clients who already have a CDN in place.”

The application is built in Adobe Flex and was just six months in development. Intriguingly, Quick.tv has a Silverlight project a month away from launch.

Bell claims half a dozen clients have already boarded, with the first two campaigns no more than a week or two from launching. He is also in advanced discussion with a production duo about a Katemodern-style (Lonelygirl15 in the US) online drama which would utilise Quick.tv to monetise the show’s product placement.

Quick.tv competition includes Canadian-based Overlay.tv which, in Bell’s opinion is aimed more at the consumer space, and individual ad agencies devising bespoke Flash tools for individual campaigns.

Bell, a millionaire at 16 by founding and selling magazine website teenfront.com, was inspired by the scene in Fight Club in which Edward Norton’s apartment becomes part of the Ikea catalogue.

The company employs seven staff plus freelance software developers in Newcastle and London and plans to open a New York office next year.

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