Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Cloud Video Editor FlixMaster Relaunches as Rapt Media

erika_trautmanEvery now and then, I like to check in on FlixMaster, the early-stage cloud-based video-editing company I discovered at a venture capital conference in Colorado a few years ago. Today, its CEO, Erika Trautman (pictured from last year’s Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference), announced that the company is changing its name to Rapt Media.

This company has a technology that does something potentially interesting with Web video. Today, we watch it in a linear beginning-to-end process — that is, assuming we don’t get bored and not bother to wait for the end at all. (Not everyone does, right?)

So, what it does is allow companies to create videos in which the viewer can navigate. You can choose different sections, or follow a narrative in a choose-your-own-adventure kind of way, and it’s also mobile-ready. It debuted the first interactive videos for iPhone and Android phones earlier this month.

PrintIt’s a tiny company, based in Boulder, Colo., and has only brought in a little bit of outside funding, but it is punching above its weight in the clients it is working with. Clients include Phillips, which is using the service to build videos for a forthcoming marketing campaign for a male grooming product that’s being helmed by advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather. Others include HBO, Sony, NBC, Universal and cosmetics giant Maybelline.

Rapt Media is betting that video will be used in a much more creative fashion by corporations and media properties, and that Rapt is an early entrant to making that possible.

“We have been the essential online video platform for indie producers and enterprise creative professionals who want audiences not only to watch online videos, but also to interact,” Trautman said.

The timing is right. Cisco Systems said that 85 percent of U.S. consumers watch online video at one time or another. The media-buying firm Rocket Fuel reckons that 80 percent of corporate brands expect to increase what they spend on video advertising, and nearly half of them are moving the majority of their ad spend away from TV and to the Web.

“We think video on the Web is at the same point that the Web was in the mid-1990s,” Trautman told me yesterday. “Back then, people thought of the Web as an online version of a brochure. Obviously, it has gotten a lot more complex since then.” Indeed it has, and so it appears video will, too.


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