The Israeli company has developed technology enabling typically passive viewers to become involved in the plot – and influence its development
Israeli startup Interlude, which enables the viewer to choose the continuation of the plot in the video they are watching, has announced the completion of another substantial financing round. While the exact sum of the investment was not disclosed, it is known to be in the “tens of millions of dollars,” and has been estimated at $40 million.
The financing round leader is none other than Sony Pictures Entertainment, which aims to create cooperative ventures that will facilitate joint development of content to upgrade Sony’s content using Interlude’s Eko platform.
What this means is that today’s audiences are radically different from the way audiences used to be. With the Eko platform, content creators can deviate from the passive story model fairly simply to enable the viewers to be involved and decide how and in what direction the plot will develop.
Sony has apparently realized that the Israeli company has great potential for virtual reality kits and media in general.
Not just one ending
Interlude is developing a platform that enables customers to create interactive video clips. Among other things, content creators can produce a video clip for a song in which the viewers choose the performer who sings or plays the instrument – while the song is being played, without waiting for reloading. Clips have been produced for Coldplay, CeeLo Green, Carly Rae Jepsen, and the most famous of all – Bob Dylan, a clip that won many prizes.
Additional uses include interactive advertisements in which the viewer can select and change elements of the clip, such as clothing, the behavior of the heroes, and the plot. In this framework, the company has reported cooperative efforts with Coca Cola, Revlon, and Mac. The company has also displayed interactive content, some of which is branded and some designated for various channels, such as MTV and Fox. The company recently even entered the games segment, offering a number of games based on its technology.
It turns out that as soon as the user feels that they are in control and can influence the continuation of the plot, their engagement rate rises by 70-90 percent. The sharing rate of interactive videos is also eight times as high, not to mention the fact that users watch the video an average of three times – to check out all the alternatives, of course.
CEO Yoni Bloch, CTO Tal Zubalsky, and Barak Feldman – three musicians – founded Interlude in 2009. The current financing round comes on top of a previous one completed in December 2015, which raised $18.2 million, led by MGM, together with previous investors in the company, such as Warner Music Group, Sequoia Capital, and Intel Capital, plus a new investor, Samsung. Together with the most recent investment, Interlude has recruited Will Gluck, director of “Annie,” who will produce and supervise the development of the entertainment content to be presented using the Eko platform.