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In Conversation

In Conversation: Reusing and Renewing Video

How can we reuse existing video content and give it new life, now that producing new content has become more difficult?

May 26, 2020

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The following interview is an excerpt from our video series, SHIFT - In Conversation. To watch the full interview and see more video content, click here. Or you can listen to the SHIFT - In Conversation podcast here.

Darian Chornodolsky - VP of Platform Growth - WIREWAX 
Grace Amodeo - Program Manager - SHIFT 

Grace:
To get started, could you introduce us to WIREWAX and yourself?

Darian:
I’m Darian and I lead platform growth at WIREWAX. WIREWAX is interactive video, and interactive video is WIREWAX. So I'll get a little bit into what interactive video is, some of the use cases, and specifically how it pertains to reusing and recycling existing assets. Also talking about how in today's reality of a halt in production, how content creators and content owners can really maximize their results with their existing video library. Recently I've been thinking about defining interactive video as the technology that allows content owners and creators to bridge that gap from passive viewing to engaging, active, and action-driven viewing. We're used by brands, agencies, retailers, marketers, broadcasters -- the bottom line is anybody who is looking to make their video work harder and to drive results with their video that go way beyond just a view count.

Interactive video [is] the technology that allows content owners and creators to bridge that gap from passive viewing to engaging, active, and action-driven viewing.

Grace:
In the last couple of months, everything has changed. And the real question here is, what is the value of interactive video when we talk about reusing footage that already exists? Can you talk about that value proposition and how it's changed in these last couple of months? Are you seeing new audiences and new use cases?

Darian:
One of the greatest things about interactive video is that you don't have to produce content specifically for interactive. Even before COVID-19 hit, creators were using WIREWAX to give existing assets new life, to make them actually engaging and interactive in some way. If anything, what this has caused is an uptick in awareness of how to maximize your existing content library. 

Grace:
Can you give me an example of being able to reuse content? If I am a content producer and I have a 30 second spot sitting in my YouTube graveyard, what does that actually look like when we start to reuse it?

Darian:
When I was trying to think of not only the best example of this that we've seen but also my favorite, there's one that stood out because it's a really creative use case. So about a year ago we were approached by the band Portugal The Man who wanted to actually give cause and purpose to their music video for "Feel It Still". They had already shot that music video. Their agency was looking to get action-oriented results from it, so they brought the video to WIREWAX. We took that music video and added 30 hidden hotspots throughout it. Each of those hotspots was a different cause, a different organization that the viewer could donate to, or contribute to signing a referendum. On average we saw the audience interacting with that video 19 times per active viewer. And that's a result that, otherwise, that video would have just racked up views on YouTube. Instead it got the results that that creator was looking for, which was driving awareness and driving action. 

Grace:
Can you describe what that experience is like from a user's perspective? How do they know that it's interactive? Does it look and feel different than a standard video we're used to seeing?

I think it's still amazing that as an audience we are not inclined yet to expect engagement with the video.

Darian:
I think it's still amazing that as an audience we are not inclined yet to expect engagement with the video. So right now we're still in the world of educating the audience that this is an interactive video, that this is something that you can actually lean in and engage with. That education comes from things like poster frames on the video or calls-to-action within the actual video to let the audience know that yes, it's okay, this is a new experience, this is a video that you can actually engage with.

Grace:
And after the video has been layered on with interactivity, can it pop up anywhere? Can you talk a little bit about where users or audiences might expect to consume the interactive video?

Darian:
Really the answer is everywhere. We highly recommend that these interactive experiences live on owned and operated properties, because that’s where you're going to have your most engaged audience. We always like to say that interactive video is not made for drive-by scrolls, it's made for content creators that want their audience to actually pay attention to their video and to engage with it. If from a social feed you can drive your audience back to your website and have that full interactive experience it's going to deliver results much higher than you would get just from somebody scrolling by that video and moving on with their life.

Grace:
Outside of marketing and advertising spheres are there other interesting or unique use cases for interactive video?

Darian:
I think that one of the big problems we're helping solve throughout all of this is, very simply put, communication. That can be learning and development, training, or e-learning platforms. Anytime that they're looking to get some sort of response or feedback, or even just to know that the audience was able to watch that content and comprehend it. With interactivity, they're able to actually do things like ask questions throughout the content series. They're able to piece them together and deliver the most relevant experience for Bob in Accounting versus Susan in Marketing, whereas otherwise they both would have had to watch that same content. 

Entertainment of course is something that we've been seeing a large increase in demand and interest over the last couple of years. You can basically trace it back to Netflix releasing their interactive movie/show, Bandersnatch. We were so excited to see a content creator like Netflix taking interactive video seriously, being able to put some serious resources and production into it. And Netflix was able to get so many data points from that experience. And I think that it's the type of data points that marketers and advertisers search for every single day, they're searching for that audience profile in a hundred different places and with interactive video you can get all of that in one place. If you're giving them interesting, engaging content, your audience will give you what you're looking for which is insight into what they care about, and what they don't care about. 

If you're giving them interesting, engaging content, your audience will give you what you're looking for which is insight into what they care about. 

Grace:
Can you talk a little bit more about what kind of data we can gather from the way people interact with certain things?

Darian:
I think that data can still be a scary word, so we definitely prefer to use the term "insights". But it really is exactly that, it's insights into the user behavior within the video. So we track everything down to the mouse cursor movement within the video experience, and every click within the video gets tracked and reported on in real time. A great example of using that real-time feedback is a shoppable fashion show we did a few seasons ago. We put the video out without really clear calls to action and we saw that the number just wasn't where we wanted it to be. So we had that reporting in real time and we decided to add a few more clear calls to action. The very next day we saw interactivity on the video increased by something like seven or eight fold. This is really back to the point of reusing assets or giving them new life, that piece of content was already created. It was done. It wasn't going to get sent back to editing, it wasn't going to get reshot -- and that's for sure because it was a very expensive production. All we did was make a change to the layer of content that was on top of the video, and overnight we were able to see the results drastically increase. 

Grace:
Internally at WIREWAX, how have you changed your strategy of reaching new audiences and getting in front of new markets?

Darian:
One of the things we've released early on during this crisis was what we're calling our Impact Package, allowing freelancers and small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19 to start using our platform for free. Anything we can do with our tool set to help them get back on their feet, and just keep the creative juices flowing. I think it's safe to say that there's never been a better time to introduce a new form of creative into their stack.

Grace:
Finally, I'd love to hear your opinion of what the future looks like, for interactive video specifically and production, content creation, marketing, and advertising in general.

Darian:
I always like to say that in the future we'll look back and say, there was a time when you couldn't engage with video? There was a time when all you could do was watch it? It's not what the future of interactive video is, it's what the future of video is. This has forced content owners and creators to say, how can I make my assets work for me? And I think that question is going to remain, why am I doing this? Why am I spending this money on video production, and what is it giving me in return? I think that hopefully when this all opens up, everybody will come out of this hibernation reinvigorated, inspired, and creative juices overflowing. That's my hope.
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Would you like to participate in a future In Conversation video interview? Email grace@shift.io for more information.

Grace Amodeo is a program manager at SHIFT, where she oversees the annual SHIFT Creative Fund grant program. She is a graduate of Emerson College, where she studied film with a concentration in directing narrative fiction. Grace lives in Los Angeles.
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