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

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make shows under 30 seconds, and making longer shows involves a monthly or yearly fee and per-show charges. (On average, about 10 percent of people who make a free 30-second show go on to sign up as paid members, Jefferson says.)

The project-building interface within the Kodak Gallery bears a “Powered by Animoto” logo, and Kodak and the other partners will share their revenues with the startup. That means the partner program isn’t open to just any random Web developer. “Out of the gate, this is a closed API, meaning we are only giving access to companies where we understand a clear way for them to monetize, so that there is meaningful revenue to share,” says Jefferson.

Sharing the Animoto technology with existing media-sharing properties is a much more efficient way for the company to grow its own user base than spending a lot of money marketing the standalone service, Jefferson believes. “If you can go into a user environment that already has 50 million users and plug in a tool that has a proven 10 percent conversion rate, it has the potential to really scale Animoto into a mainstream consumer Internet brand much more quickly than I think we can do ourselves,” he says.

Jefferson couldn’t name names, but he says Animoto is in negotiations with more sites that will make innovative use of its video creation service, beyond obvious partners such as photo-sharing sites. “There will be all kinds of usage of the service,” he says. “While will continue to be the flagship platform, the video creation service is what we’re the best in the world at, and the future we are trying to build is about having tons of partners, where every one of them is able to make money against our service and revenue-share with us.”

For their next act, Jefferson says, Animoto’s developers plan to dive into building new smartphone and tablet-based versions of the service. Right now, Animoto’s iPhone app can only assemble shows from still photos, not videos. Now that the Apple iPad has a video camera, it makes a lot of sense to upgrade the iOS app to allow users to make mixed-media shows, he says. “It’s such a great form factor,” Jefferson says. “Apple is doing a great job of selling iMovie as an editing tool, but Animoto can do the same thing with a fraction of the effort.”

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Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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