Hollywood, Beware: Interactive Video Startup Interlude Lets Viewers Decide How The Story Will Unfold
Tired of old-school films and plain YouTube videos? Imagine you could actively engage with what you’re watching, from picking the protagonist’s outfit, to changing the music in the background, and even choosing the ending you prefer. This is the basic concept behind Interlude, a successful Israeli startup that recently raised $18 million from Hollywood studios to produce and distribute interactive videos.
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The germ of the idea came from Israeli musician Yoni Bloch, who wanted to create a music video that could adapt to different kinds of viewers, allowing them to participate and make changes to the video itself. Along with co-founder Tal Zubalsky, Bloch decided to implement such technology when founding Interlude in 2011.
Headquartered in New York, with additional offices in Tel Aviv and Los Angeles, the company has since raised over $36 million for its video production platform from venture capital firms such as Innovation Endeavors, run by Google chairman Eric Schmidt, and Intel Capital.
Using software that enables multiple streaming choices for one video, this innovative technology “has the potential to change the relationship between film and individual audience members,” Bloch said in a statement.
In a recent collaboration with beverage brand SmartWater, Interlude directed its advertising campaign, starring famed actress Jennifer Aniston. To promote the campaign, SmartWater wrote on its Instagram page that the new commercial “is in trouble!” and encouraged the viewers to help “direct” it.
To date, the startup has created partnerships with giant studios such as Universal, Fox, Disney and Sony, as well as with household names such as Coca Cola, L’Oréal and Shell, whose interactive videos will soon be playing on a screen near you.
The most famous project thus far has been the music video requested by Bob Dylan for his 1965 song “Like a Rolling Stone,” in which viewers can zap through 16 channels and watch a number of TV hosts and personalities lip sync the lyrics. The video went viral within days after its release, and Interlude was overwhelmed by requests from other artists, such as rapper CeeLo Green, pop singer Carly Jae Rapsen and rock band Coldplay – as well as from many more musicians and bands now using Interlude’s platform.
In a deal announced last month, Interlude raised $18.2 million from Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios (MGM), Warner Music Group and Samsung, as well as from existing investor Sequoia Capital. Some of the funds will go towards creating a short digital version of the 1983 classic film “WarGames” with actors Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy.
Perhaps soon viewers could redirect some of the misguided scenes in our favorite movies!
Photos and videos: Robert Scoble, Interlude