Avot Media Test Mobile-Video Service At Home Depot
At least that's the hope of Avot Media, which has started testing a service at Home Depot that allows mobile users to access instructional videos about in-store products by entering an SMS short code for a link.
The initial demonstration videos are for a gizmo that makes it easier to install hard-wired light fixtures and ceiling fans. By June 3, shoppers at more than 100 Home Depot outlets in Florida will be able to use their cell phones to stream or download brief videos showing how to install the Fast Attach device developed by a company called Safety Quick Light.
Shelf displays will let people know about the mobile demo videos.
"Today, it's not easy to find and watch mobile video," said David Sloan, director of product marketing for two-year-old Avot. "But everyone understands SMS short codes, and mobile voting for 'American Idol' has proven that model is mainstream."
Other advertisers have attached short codes to billboards and print ads that allow consumers to enter contests or get more product information via cell phone.
By combining short code messaging with informational videos, Avot aims to expand use of its AdVideo platform to other product marketers and major retail chains. At the heart of its business is a dynamic transcoding process the company says delivers a superior viewing experience to other platforms that convert video for mobile use.
According to mobile content researcher M:Metrics, however, only 6% of U.S. cell phone subscribers used their device to watch a video in March. Meanwhile, U.S. mobile ad spending is projected by eMarketer to nearly double to $1.7 billion this year, mostly in the form of text-based placements.
Late last year, Avot unveiled an ad-supported service called mV that allows users to search for, watch and share mobile videos in close to real time. It features a search tool for setting content preferences, and then aggregating the videos into playlists.
Avot foresees its AdVideo platform being used not only for in-store promotions, but to power mobile video for other types of text-message campaigns such as for movies or TV shows. "We want to be that video engine," Sloan said.
How the company proceeds will be determined in part by the results of its pilot video program at Home Depot. Avot will track metrics such as how many people clicked to watch the videos, what devices they used, and what time of day and in what stores they tuned in.