Animoto Opens Slide Show Creation Tools to Kodak Gallery and More Partners

3/14/11Follow @wroush

There’s a slew of tools like Apple’s iMovie for turning your raw photos and videos into fun multimedia slide shows that you can share with friends and family. The problem is that none of them are drop-dead simple—except perhaps Animoto’s. The startup, which is based in San Francisco and New York and backed mainly by Seattle investors (and led by Seattle natives), offers the easiest tool I’ve found for uploading photos and short video clips and setting them to music.

A lot more people are likely to stumble across that tool now that Animoto is making the technology available to outside partners such as photo-sharing sites. Kodak Gallery, American Greetings, and Aviary.com are the first three companies participating in Animoto’s new partner program, announced today at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, TX.

Up to now, the only way to create an Animoto project was to go to the startup’s website or download its iPhone app. But thanks to the new software bridges Animoto has built to partner sites, people who store their digital photos and videos at Kodak Gallery, make free e-cards at American Greetings, or use Aviary.com’s editing tools will be able to make full Animoto videos from their own media without leaving those sites.

That could eventually translate into a lot more visibility—and income—for Animoto. “I think it’s conceivable that in the future, not only will the majority of Animoto videos be created outside of Animoto.com, but also the majority of our revenue will be driven from outside Animoto.com,” says Brad Jefferson, the startup’s co-founder and CEO.

Building the application programming interfaces, or APIs, needed to pull this off preoccupied half of Animoto’s developer staff for most of 2010, Jefferson says. The company has been testing the service since last September; it was rolled out today at Kodak Gallery and will be available within a few weeks at Aviary.com and American Greetings.

Partners are interested in adding Animoto to their sites in part because it offers them a way to make money from consumers’ video clips for the first time, says Jefferson. “At least one in five online photo albums has at least one video clip,” he says. “But there’s not a lot of products that allow [photo-sharing sites] to monetize video clips. Their products are mostly tangible things like photo books and prints. Animoto gives photo-sharing sites the ability to offer a product that incorporates video clips and creates a lot of value.”

At Kodak Gallery, users can create their first high-resolution Animoto slide show for free during the month of March, and after that Kodak will charge users for each show they make. That’s similar to the arrangement at Animoto.com, where it’s free to … Next Page »

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

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