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This article was published on May 14, 2013

500 Startups-backed Cinemacraft heads to the movies as Sony Pictures trials Videogram embeds

500 Startups-backed Cinemacraft heads to the movies as Sony Pictures trials Videogram embeds
Jon Russell
Story by

Jon Russell

Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.

Tokyo-headquartered Cinemacraft is going to the movies after Sony Pictures picked Videogram, its interactive video platform, to help promote its upcoming flick Battle of the Year, and get feedback from fans.

The 500 Startups-backed firm believes that “video embed and thumbnails are archaic” and Videogram is its alternative that breaks content up into scenes using clickable (and embeddable) pictoral summaries.

In doing so, it provides a more immersive experience that lets users start viewing parts that look the most interesting, while specific clips can be shared to an array of supported social networks, including Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

For content publishers, the segmenting of scenes and comments provides a more contextual and specific method to measure user engagement and opinion.

For example, rather than sifting through feedback about an entire movie trailer, an embed with Videogram allows them to see which scenes are the most popular — the thumbnail-size windows grow larger with more engagement — what users are saying about each specific piece of action and more.

In addition, since the social sharing sits atop of the Videogram service, publishers can tap into a rich range of data to learn more about how users are engaging with their friends around the content, which parts are causing the highest engagement levels, etc.

That’s the reason Sony Pictures has adopted the service to promote Battle of the Year. The movie is due in cinemas September 13 but the trailer went live today, and it includes a link to the dedicated landing page — — which features both a YouTube embed and a Videogram embed (to the left of the screenshot below).

videogram boty

Cinemacraft CEO and founder Sandeep Casi tells TNW that the agreement is not financial, and is instead an exploration of how Videogram can help Sony Pictures, and likewise how the service fares as a tool to promote the film.

Typically, studios will release a number of different trailers long in advance of a film’s planned release in order to gauge opinion, and identify the main talking points that would appeal to audiences. With that feedback they tailor their promotional activity, and perhaps even the film. Casi believes that Videogram can help make this process more efficient for producers.

Casi — who divides his time equally between the offices in Japan and the US — says the startup has struck a number of deals with paying customers which will be announced in the coming month or so. The companies involved, he says, range from movie studios to other entertainment and consumer brands across Japan and the US.

Videogram for iOS was launched last month, and Casi reveals the startup is close to finalizing the Android version.

Also on the horizon is a customer dashboard that will allow content owners to mine information for themselves. As of now, Cinemacraft works with content providers to dig up relevant stats and analytics from its data.

The startup currently has seven staff (Casi included): a four-person development team in Tokyo and two US-based business development personnel. That’s up from just four employees in May and Casi says more hires will join this year as Cinemacraft brings on paying customers and continues to develop the Videogram services.

The company initially planned to relocate to Silicon Valley when it launched the Videogram service last November, but Casi admits that he didn’t want to risk upsetting the work of the Tokyo-based development team so it has remained in Japan.

Similarly, plans for the San Francisco-based office changed when it was relocated to Los Angeles to be closer to business opportunities.

Related: Here’s an interesting Videogram we spotted.

➤ Videogram | App Store

Headline image via The Eggplant / Flickr

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