Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

ESPN’s Website Lets You Ask Jon Hamm a Question, and Get an Answer

The screen sizes are different, and sometimes the stuff on the screen is different, too. But beyond that, watching video on the Web is the same as watching it on TV: You pick a thing to watch, click a button and then watch the thing.

But what would happen if you kept playing with the video while you were watching it? That is, leaning in instead of leaning back?

We saw one version of this idea last month, when TouchCast launched its interactive iPad app. You can see another one right now over at, where the sports site is featuring an interactive interview with Jon Hamm.

The idea, for anyone who doesn’t want to click over or is using a mobile device: ESPN host Stuart Scott chats up the “Mad Men” star, who is hosting the network’s ESPYs award show tonight. Web surfers can pick the questions they want to hear answered, and jump around at will.

This isn’t scintillating stuff —  Scott’s questions are dullsville, and Hamm seems bemused by the whole thing — but it is sort of interesting as a test case. Which is the point.

The tech that powers the interview comes from video startup Bedrocket along with Israeli tech startup Interlude, which has been working on interactive video for years. Up until now, Bedrocket has primarily been a video creator/distributor, producing sports and comedy stuff for YouTube and other outlets. But it is beginning to market a white label video platform/service that will include features like this.

Unlike other future-of-video types, Bedrocket CEO Brian Bedol doesn’t think video viewers want to lean forward while they watch stuff like “Game of Thrones.” But there’s all kinds of stuff where it might make sense to let someone stop, search, and leap forward or backward through video, he says: Imagine applying this tech to an entire episode of “SportsCenter,” or an instructional video, etc. Seems quite plausible.

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