5 Questions for Matt Kaplan

Vice President of Solutions and Chief Strategy Officer, PermissionTV

When asked about his preferred Olive Garden entrées, Matt Kaplan, PermissionTV's vice president of solutions and chief strategy officer, straddles the casual dining fence: "Chicken Parmigiana is leaner and generally eaten by Republicans, whereas Chicken Marsala contains more fat and is mostly consumed by Democrats. I'm undecided as to which I like better." However, he had stronger opinions about the promise of "video 2.0." And he has the numbers to back up the talk: "In a recent PermissionTV survey of marketers, nearly 85 percent of the respondents agreed that online video will be an important strategic initiative in 2009," Kaplan says. "So I think we're onto something." Kaplan's worked in the online biz for years - at AdValue Network and, to name a few - so we're inclined to believe him.

What is "video 2.0"?
The era of video 1.0 was all about getting video to play on a Web site. When I think about video 1.0 experiences, what comes to mind is a Web site with a small video player that has your basic 1980s-style VCR controls (play, pause, rewind, stop) and some sharing options (e-mail, link, embed). But all in all, video 1.0 can be characterized by a text-based canvas enhanced with a passive, linear video.
I think of video 2.0 as the age of intelligent video applications. This starts with a high-quality, full-screen video canvas enhanced with interactivity, Web services and Web smarts. Video 2.0 breaks down the linear video model and puts the viewer in control of the story and their own experience. With affordable online delivery of HD-quality video, we're just starting to lay the groundwork for this era to emerge. The canvas is there, and PermissionTV is now providing the paints and supplies for creating these rich video applications.

Why is PermissionTV a part of that vision?
We'd like to call ourselves the pioneers of video 2.0. Our intent is to evolve video from a linear, passive, broadcast medium to a dynamic, interactive and permission-based one (hence the name PermissionTV).
Our video platform was built with this in mind and supports rich interactivity, nonlinear programming, and integrations with Web services at playback time. This is particularly appealing to marketers who value deepening customer relationships with their brands.

What are the biggest mistakes marketers make when they try to leverage online video?
For marketers, online video is still thought of as an advertising medium, but it needs to be thought of as an integral part of any digital marketing campaign. We recommend that marketers look at ways to leverage online video throughout the customer life cycle, from brand awareness and lead generation to conversion, service and support. For publishers, there's still an "if you build it, they will come" mentality with online video. You still need to worry about who your audience is and how to attract them. We've seen a lot of online publishers put up some video content and expect a ton of viewers to just show up and start watching. Building a successful video destination is hard, and it requires ongoing analysis to find out what people find engaging.

What is your ideal interactive video experience?
Mine is what I call the "Personal NFL Game Day." Rather than spending three hours watching just one game with lots of time-outs, I could specify all the games that I'm interested in following that day. While the games are being played, I'm alerted on-screen when an exciting play has happened or a team is in the red zone. I can allow the system to automatically switch my game or simply opt-in when I'm ready. I can instantly pull up any game-day video highlights, camera angles, stats or even watch my fantasy team play its opponent. If I missed a game, I simply ask for the 5-, 10- or 15-minute recap and watch all the best plays. Oh, and viewers would get to throw challenge flags and vote on video replays instead of the officials.

Did PermissionTV send Mitt Romney [a client] a muffin basket to console him when his presidential bid failed?
No, but we were holding out for the vice presidential nomination. Little did we know how that would turn out!

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