This interactive platform delivers elements of the choose-your-own-ending world into high quality video. Will major movie studios bring it to the silver screen?
Interlude, an Israeli music and media company pushing a new emotive, interactive video platform announced an $18.2 million funding round led by movie studio MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) that will include MGM CEO Gary Barber joining the young startup’s board. Besides returning venture investors Sequoia Capital and Intel Capital, entertainment and media companies Samsung and Warner Music Group also joined the round. Past investors have included NEA, Marker, and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors.
“Though video has always been a very powerful storytelling medium, it has not, to date, been able to adjust and adapt from viewer to viewer,” said Yoni Bloch, founder and CEO of Interlude. “But we are aiming to allow filmmakers and content to form a unique connection with each viewer. This has the potential to change the relationship between film and individual audience members.”
Interlude’s flagship product is its Treehouse design suite for interactive video. MGM and Interlude had recently announced a partnership to create digital shorts based on the movie WarGames. The new funding will go toward “new forms of serialized video content,” attracting new users and tweaking their technology. For click interaction, the program lets you map out where different clicks will lead viewers. For a quiz video for instance, you might get different screens for right and wrong answers.
Interlude’s video content is designed to be more engaging. They compare it to games or a “lean-into” experience instead of a “lean-back”-and-relax one. For those old enough to remember, it’s akin to the choose-your-own-ending editions of Goosebumps. In a music video for instance, you can change the scenery and activities of the singers as the video goes along, encyclopedic videos might let you get background information about something mentioned in a documentary, and obviously the possibilities are extensive for full-length movies.
Interlude has reproduced popular videos in new interactive versions and original content. They co-produced a news program called Call Bulls#!t with Morgan Spurlock’s Warrior Poets and produced an interactive short called Surviving Scream for MTV, the Silicon Beach Style Guide, Intimate Conversation with Joss Stone, and extended commercials for Dos Equis (the most interesting man in the world) and Goldfish crackers. Also, they count Universal, Sony, Viacom, Disney, the BBC, and Coca-Cola among their clientele.
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Call Bulls#!t’s video is particularly fun and impressive because it’s not only gaming the video watching experience, but it also gives you lots of tangential information about what you’re viewing. For example, this sleekly produced edition of the third Republican presidential debate takes six of the candidates and lets you judge whether or not they’re speaking the truth at the podium on national television.
They’ve worked on classics and recent releases by Wiz Khalifa, Bob Dylan, Aloe Blacc, Carly Rae Jepsen (You remember her, maybe?), change-in-his-pocket-wasn’t-enough CeeLo Green (can’t forget him), Led Zeppelin (no jokes about the Zep) and Coldplay (too many jokes to list here).
CEO Yoni Bloch, COO Barak Feldman, and CTO Tal Zubalsky founded Interlude in 2010. They are headquartered in New York with offices in Tel Aviv and Los Angeles. They’ve raised a total of $36.45 million in four rounds.