Online video — once a click-and-watch experience — is increasingly looking for audience participation.
Web-video sites, including Google Inc.’s YouTube, Veoh Networks Inc. and Overlay.TV Inc., have recently added or plan to add features that let users embed interactive commentary and links into videos.
Dailymotion Inc. added a feature called VideoZap, which lets users add a toolbar to their own Web site that displays their favorite Dailymotion videos.
The appearance of the new video features represents the next step in how the Internet is used. While people before could only turn up the volume or click on a larger screen for online videos, they can now use the format to engage with friends and fans. That makes online videos part of a larger entertainment movement — where users control the medium, interact with others or have the sense of “being there,” as in the cases of Internet-connected TVs and videogames, as well as live events shown in 3-D at movie theaters.
The new tools are also important for online video companies, which are working to keep viewers at a time when more competing sites have popped up. The video sites are working to keep consumers engaged for longer periods of time — making the sites more appealing to advertisers. “Everything boils down to keeping users on our site,” says Nikhil Chandhok, a product manager with YouTube.
Photo by YouTube.
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