Overlay.TV Launches Interactive Video Product for Online Retailers

Overlay.TV, an Ottawa, Canada-based start-up that offers a platform which, among other things, allows users to add a layer of custom-designed, clickable content over broadband videos (note: for a detailed overview of Overlay.TV's platform, see the article posted on itvt.com, October 2nd, 2008), announced Monday that it has launched a new ecommerce product called Overlay.TV for Retail. According to the company, the new product allows seamless integration of interactive video into product pages, brand experience pages, face-to-face video chat and user-generated video ratings and testimonials. This, the company says, radically simplifies the process of including user-generated content, by allowing merchants to pair UGC with professionally created video and moderate it with a built-in dashboard. "There's no doubt that video can increase sales," Overlay.TV CEO, Rob Lane, said in a prepared statement. "Retailers have been slow to capitalize on this trend, largely because of the technical issues that come along with video storing, streaming and integration into existing product catalogs and inventory systems. We've taken away the technical problems, and packaged it in a way that makes the process easy to manage and entirely focused on sales."

According to Overlay.TV, beyond simply offering a platform for product videos, its clickable technology allows merchants to easily repurpose brand-created video content by adding links to product catalogs and inventory databases. "Our view is that adding video is a half-step in the right direction, but you need to have a plan for how it's going to be built into the sales process," Lane explained. "The interactivity that our system builds allows customers to shop within a video regardless of whether it's on the storefront or embedded on a blog." Overlay.TV also claims that interactive video-enhanced ecommerce holds strong potential for companies to build online communities. "Once consumers begin to experience the social and personal aspects that interactive video can bring to the shopping experience, they're going to begin to demand it," Lane said. "As consumers, we're quick to adjust to a new baseline, and I think this raises the bar significantly."

Overlay.TV claims to have signed up a "major client" for its new retail product, and says that the client will launch an interactive video service this summer. The company has also created a demo Web site for the product (http://flixtore.com/) and published a white paper on using interactive video for ecommerce (http://www.overlay.tv/pdf/overlaytv_retail.pdf).

North America