PermissionTV Gives Video Publishers Permission to Get Creative

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create videos with advanced interactive features without having to learn ActionScript; the solutions hub, for example, provides a gallery of features that designers can simply copy and modify to suit their needs.

PermissionTV also provides quick ways to help viewers navigate among multiple videos, including scrolling playlists and thumbnail collages. For cool examples check out this video site built by Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, and the website for Quarterlife, a combination dramatic series and social network created by Hollywood producers Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick.

And it’s all designed so that non-programmers, such as Web designers at interactive marketing agencies, can get their own simple video channels up and running in less than a day. “We take the heavy lifting of video management and delivery off their hands,” says Kaplan. “All they need to be concerned with is how the application looks. Everything else—video ingestion, encoding, deploying to a content distribution network—is transparent to them.”

But while old multimedia geeks like me have been waiting a long time for the return of sophisticated interactive video, a whole generation of Web users has been brought up on non-interactive, YouTube-style video. I quizzed Kaplan and Halverson on whether they think Web audiences dulled by these linear experiences will respond to something more engaging.

Interactive video is “still in its infancy” on the Web, Kaplan acknowledged. “But we are starting to see it. YouTube just started offering publishers the ability to drop comments into their videos, and we’re seeing a lot of social applications being built into online TV. We strongly believe this is where the world is going—that people are going to want to lean forward and engage.”

Halverson argues that tools like PermissionTV make video interesting enough to carry a website, rather than functioning as eye candy off to the side. “If a video is central to the experience, you are more apt to feel natural interacting with it,” he says. I think we are going to see some bad examples and some good ones. There will be a give-and-take between viewers and businesses about what works for their products and brands, and as a platform we want to propel that.”

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Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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