Coull has been around since 1998 and making videos interactive since 1999. A long time before anyone could have foreseen the current growth in online video content.
Consciously choosing not to promote user generated content, clients of Coull consist of Media Agencies and rights holders and publishers of professional content. “We see our position as offering publishers and content owners something different and I think that’s been successful for us.” Stated Irfon Watkins, CEO of Coull in an interview with AdMarkTech.
With in-house developed technology Coull gives their clients a method for simplifying video production and adding user interaction. Taking care of all the technical elements of the process, clients are left to focus their budget not on technology, but on the important issues of creative design and marketing. Using the Coull technology platform to add interaction to videos takes approximately five minutes per video once clients become familiar with the platform.
Consisting of a team of 16 people based in Bristol, England, Coull has spent the best part of the last 10 years building the in-depth technology. With the lack of broadband, it has only been the past 18 months that they have really been in a position to benefit from the technology that has no real competition in the current market place.
Their client base consists of clients such as MindShare who, in turn, are utilizing the Coull technology platform to service international clients such as Unilever. “We’ve been working with other media agencies like MediaCom and Carat on brands such as Renault and Alfa Romeo. We also work with MySpace, Fox, MSN, Yahoo, Bebo and many other publishers and media agencies. We don’t tend to work directly with the brands themselves. We focus our sales activity on the agencies and publishers.”
The revenue model can work in one of two ways and all revenue is generated as a result of published videos. Coull host all the video content and use 3rd party content delivery networks such as Limelight or Akami to deliver the videos.
“The whole philosophy of Coull, from an ad perspective, is to make the platform open and allow the advertising client to work with existing systems that they already have. Using MindShare as an example, Mindshare would upload a video to our dashboard; bearing in mind we’ll take a video in any file format. They would then make the video interactive themselves. It’s a simple process to do with no need to involve creative or technical knowledge. Any junior within the account team can make the video interactive using the Coull technology. Selecting the player is the next step. Mindshare used this technology on a Unilever product called ‘Sure for Girls’ which is a deodorant. They branded the player ‘Sure for Girls’ and then our dashboard generated a tag. The tag conforms and is served through existing ad property systems like DoubleClick or Atlas. Additionally it is also format compatible with publisher sites such as Bebo. MindShare use our platform to make their videos interactive, split server tag, traffic that tag to their existing systems and publish them on partner sites. Our format is approved across Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Fox and MySpace.”
With relatively little competition in the video analytic space, Coull is gaining huge traction in this area of service.
“One of the big issues about the online video space is if the objective of the online video ad is to get you from that ad to another site as quickly as possible, then why spend a lot of money making a 30 second video clip if it’s designed for you to navigate away? Using our format drives engagement with the video. Coull technology allows a viewer to click on objects within the video and find out a little bit more about what they’ve clicked on before choosing to exit to go onto another site. We’re measuring everything in terms of what objects are clicked on and every bit of user interactivity once they’ve clicked to play the video. This is what we class as engagement.”
Additionally, using the Coull technology, videos can be shared in multiple ways. Using a url, email or embed code to drop into MySpace, blog or the user’s choice of Social Network, all the advertiser’s branding stays perfectly in tact, therefore benefiting the advertiser by all method of distribution.
But what does the future hold in store for Coull?
“We will continue to grow our business in the online video advertising space and also move very aggressively into the social networking space, allowing anybody to upload and make videos interactive and publish. Then we’ll connect it to the revenue and advertising model. What you’ll see a year from now is an interactive video version of salesforce.com. A site which is fully transactional where you can upload a video, publish it and link it to contextual advertising models and networks and share revenues that are generated from published videos.”
Having just signed a deal with JWT, Coull are looking to extend their current relationships with marketing agencies and enter the US market by the end of this year.
Click here to see the article on AdMarkTech.Com.