Interactive Video Company, Overlay.TV, to Focus Its Efforts Solely on its Ecommerce Platform

--Company Launched Overlay.TV for Retail in June

In a posting on its corporate blog, Monday, 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 published on itvt.com, October 2nd, 2008), announced that it has decided to focus its efforts on Overlay.TV for Retail, the interactive video commerce platform that it launched in June (see the article published on itvt.com, June 16th). "A few months ago we launched a new platform called Overlay.TV for Retail," the blog posting stated. "At the time, the focus on our site was split between user-generated content and our new ecommerce video platform, but it became clear in the months that followed that interest in the UGC side was dwindling and that our energies would be better spent if we concentrated solely on our retail platform. It wasn't an easy decision to make as we had some very loyal users, but we felt that the new platform needed all of our love and attention, especially in these early stages, in order to deliver the best possible product to all of our clients."

Overlay.TV has revamped its Web site to reflect its focus on its ecommerce solution, and recently showcased the solution in a booth at the online retail trade show, the Shop.org Annual Summit. According to the company, it learned from its conversations with attendees at the show that "online retailers are looking for new ways to integrate video, product and user-generated, into their sites to better engage existing customers and entice new ones. It's not just about pushing products and shopping," Overlay.TV stated on its blog, "but about building a community of like-minded consumers and giving them the ability to share their experiences with others."

When it announced its ecommerce product, Overlay.TV billed it as allowing 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 said, 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 included in the company's press release announcing Overlay.TV for Retail. "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."

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