Overlay.TV Commercially Launches its Platform

An Ottawa-based start-up called Overlay.TV has commercially launched an eponymous interactive media platform which it says enables video creators and viewers to add a layer of custom-designed, clickable content over any embeddable online video. According to the company, the platform, which has been in a limited-feature public beta since February, now includes a new monetization system, several new interactive tools, and an open API. The Overlay.TV toolkit allows users to add video-in-video, product placements, hyperlinks, text and clip art, in order to create alternate endings, pop-up video, detailed product reviews and various other applications to personalize and share video content, the company says. In addition, it claims, a newly launched Overlay.TV site will make it simple for content publishers, marketers and users to capitalize on popular videos. "The eternal question of online video is how to make it interactive and profitable," Overlay.TV president and CEO, Rob Lane, said in a prepared statement. "Overlay.TV helps everyone from videobloggers to corporate marketers answer that question by letting users add a new layer of personalization that can be easily turned into revenue."

Overlay.TV says it has been working with a number of different customers during the beta period, and that it is launching joint efforts with several content creators and partners, including Nettwerk Records and Amber MacArthur. One of the Nettwerk's bands, Uh Huh Her, has already integrated Overlay.TV content into its Web presence (note: this and other content from Nettwerk Records that incorporates Overlay.TV can be seen at overlay.tv/channel/show/nettwerk+records).

According to Overlay.TV, highlights of its platform include:

  • The ability to link to over 1,000 affiliate retailers, including Amazon.com, iTunes and Macy's. Each time a product featured in a video is clicked on an purchased, Overlay.TV shares the revenue thus generated with the video's creator. It claims that the creator's share can be up to 50%, depending on the retailer: registered users simply point their Overlay.TV Wallet to their PayPal account, the company says, and monies made are deposited through PayPal into their bank account on demand.
  • A video-in-video feature that the company says can be used for everything from video karaoke, complete with song lyrics, to narrating demonstration or product review videos (directly from a Web cam or by uploading a separate video file into the overlay).
  • The ability to incorporate a Twitter stream directly into video via a widget. The platform also includes a live chat feature that lets video viewers and producers interact in real time through the video player while the video is playing.
  • Integration with OpenSocial, in order to make it easy for content creators to embed their videos in MySpace and other social networking sites using the OpenSocial standards. In addition, Overlay.TV says it has given developers and designers access to its platform's API and its player's SDK through the Overlay.TV Developer Center. According to the company, developers can customize the player in any way they see fit and easily integrate it with their own applications and Web sites.
  • Various controls for viewers and for video creators. According to the company, viewers can click the "off" button to watch a video without overlays, and video creators can choose whether to make their videos public or private, and to make them embeddable in other sites with an embed code or a new video widget.