Media Pitch: Video Intelligence Uses Machine Learning to Up Video Content & Ad Revenue
While the near wholesale pivot to video made by some publishers in 2018 looks foolhardy in hindsight, there’s no question that video is increasing its share of attention on the web, especially on mobile. Publishers that want to up their video game often face the obstacle of scaling the production of video needed to grow ad inventory. Of course, once they have the inventory, publishers need to connect with the ad buyers to sell it.
Zurich-based Video Intelligence aims to solve both sides of the video equation by supplying contextually relevant video and inserting ads into those videos. The video platform features a video syndication engine that uses machine learning to match video stories to text, a video ad server, and an SSP.
In the following interview Video Intelligence CEO and co-founder Kai Henniges explains how the platform uses machine learning to programmatically deliver both content and advertising to publishers.
Who are you? What is your technology and how does it work?
My name is Kai Henniges. I’m the CEO of video intelligence and I co-founded the company with our COO Joerg Boksberger. We began as a content aggregation platform back in 2008, and that’s what we still do. We built technology connecting content producers, publishers, and advertisers.
Now firmly established as a contextual video platform, video intelligence empowers advertisers, publishers, and content providers to tell video stories. How? Through our tools we enable cross-platform publishers to embed video advertising and content. Our flagship product, vi stories, uses machine learning to automatically deliver both content and advertising, which maximizes revenue for publishers.
Explain your existence: What problem are you solving or opportunity are you enabling? How are you unique?
Video is the growth area in online technology. With smart phone ubiquity, and generous data plans, consumers are watching video everywhere. But often publishers don’t have the means to create their own relevant video, and so their customers are missing out. Our vi stories product uses machine learning to match video content to the existing text content on the page. This means there is an automated provision of relevant, contextual video. We also have direct and programmatic connections to advertisers, so publishers don’t need to worry about the demand at all. What’s more, customers get to watch the video they crave.
No-one else has a monetizeable video player with the same focus on contextual content and ease of integration.
Inspiration: How did you come up with this idea? How does your new tech solution reflect changes and trends underway in the media world?
We noticed that the claims of data targeting companies were over-inflated; no matter how much targeting or information a company claimed to have on a consumer, it didn’t make them interested in the advertising they were served. Meanwhile, new European regulations like GDPR will limit sharing of first party data without consent. This will make many targeting facilities redundant. By using machine learning to reach audiences based on what they’re already viewing (not guess work), we bypass data sharing, and deliver video in an environment where it is welcome.
It’s proven that users are more likely to engage with content that is presented in context. It increases time-on-page, retention, and recall rates. Thankfully, the recent advances in machine learning enable us to automate and scale contextual video placements like never before.
Results: How have you or do you plan to help media companies increase revenue or cut costs? Can you quantify this?
We sell technology, so no matter how much they earn, we only take a small percentage. We’re transparent with our fees. With simple integrations, we’re enabling publishers from small blogs right up to international media brands to quickly and easily make money from their content. With strict viewability criteria in place, advertisers only pay for placements that are seen by humans. Some of our most recent sign-ups in Germany have seen 40% increase in week-on-week revenue from vi stories.
Share some wisdom: What do you think are the most important trends affecting the media business today?
The trend consultancy Contagious are calling 2018 the year of the ‘Agile long termist’. This means we need to set bold, long-term visions, whilst retaining an agility at every opportunity. Taking this mantra, vi’s success has been our ability to maintain a commitment to creating simple video solutions, whilst adapting to changes in the market. In the fast moving and still nascent advertising technology sector, this is the only way to survive.