×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TouchCast Thinks It Can Create Smarter Web Videos Than YouTube

Startup pitches iPad app for creating interactive video broadcasts, which require its own media player

TouchCast is touting an app for creating Internet videos with fully interactive, live web elements far superior to what’s available through YouTube — although the startup entertains no fantasies that it can compete with the video giant’s scale.

New York-based startup is pitching media companies and other content creators on the idea. TouchCast’s iPad app, released Thursday, uses a media player based on the HTML5 web standard to enhance videos with embedded elements, which can include live web pages, Twitter feeds or even related videos.

“The web is evolving to look more like cable TV. But it’s the same content you are watching on television — it’s dumb video,” TouchCast CEO Edo Segal said. “This world of video is collapsing with the world of the web.”

TouchCast claims to be working with some major broadcasters (which Segal declined to identify) as well as YouTube content creators. But at least one big challenge it will face is that TouchCast-enabled videos must use the startup’s own web and mobile players, which could inhibit its attractiveness to major media firms.

YouTube and other video platforms do have the ability to insert interactive elements within a video stream. But Segal said in YouTube’s case those are just annotations with links: “What we have really done is immerse HTML inside the video.”

The startup, although it has created a video-sharing system similar to YouTube, says it isn’t trying to build a rival to the 800-pound Internet video gorilla. Segal noted that videos created with the TouchCast app can be uploaded to YouTube (although none of the interactive features would work).

“We don’t see it as competitive with YouTube. We are trying to create a brand-new experience,” he said.

Segal formed TouchCast in 2010. Last year he hired Erick Schonfeld, former editor in chief of TechCrunch, and product chief Charley Miller, a former videogame designer. Based in Gotham’s West Village, the company has about 20 employees and is funded by the founders.

Segal formerly served as VP of emerging platforms at AOL, which acquired his real-time search startup, Relegence, in 2006. He also is founder of bMuse, a digital media studio startup.

Among traditional media and Internet companies, Segal argued, “there isn’t enough innovation around the base product. Not enough people are thinking about the core video product.”

TouchCast’s Video Apps, dubbed “vApps,” are on-screen elements that look like TV graphics but are interactive and update in real-time. Initial examples include YouTube videos, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, Flickr photo galleries, news headlines and stock charts. Developers can also create and customize their own vApps.

Startup has a “freemium” model for individual content creators. The free version lets users create videos of up to five minutes each, and store up to one hour of video on the service. For more storage, TouchCast plans to charge a monthly fee; the approach is similar to online-storage provider Dropbox.

For media companies, meanwhile, the company is licensing its tools based on number of producers and views in the player. Segal claimed TouchCast has inked some deals in the “seven figures.”

There’s also an opportunity down the road to serve ads with TouchCast videos, Schonfeld said. Units could include preroll ads, and advertisers could create branded content using TouchCast as an advertising unit in itself.

Media companies must use TouchCast’s player but can use any content distribution network provider. TouchCast uses Amazon Web Services for the application layer coupled with a proprietary solution for video delivery.

Similar to YouTube, TouchCast has a process to respond to copyright-infringement complaints, as specified under the U.S.’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

TouchCast for iPad is available free to download from Apple’s iTunes App Store. Users can view TouchCast videos on the app, or on touchcast.com via Chrome and Safari browsers. A PC-based version of the application is in the works, and TouchCast plans to eventually reach other devices as well.

More Digital

  • Nancy Pelosi

    Facebook on Defensive Over Fake Pelosi Video

    Facebook faced growing criticism this week over its decision not to remove a video that was doctored to suggest that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was intoxicated during a recent public event. The video, which has been viewed more than 2.5 million times, had been slowed down notably, giving the impression that Pelosi was slurring her [...]

  • Little-Black-Mirror-Maia-Mitchell

    Netflix Launching 'Little Black Mirror' Video Series Starring Maia Mitchell, Lele Pons, Rudy Mancuso, Juanpa Zurita and More

    To promote next month’s premiere of “Black Mirror” season 5, Netflix is launching a short video series — “Little Black Mirror,” with a cast that includes an ensemble of Latinx social-media stars. The three “mini-stories,” aimed at Spanish-speaking audiences, are inspired by the tech-dystopian universe of Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones’ anthology series. “Little Black [...]

  • Twitter

    Twitter Permanently Bans Anti-Trump Krassenstein Brothers, Who Deny They Broke Platform's Rules

    Twitter permanently suspended the accounts of Ed and Brian Krassenstein — progressive political activists famous for trolling Donald Trump and his supporters — with the company alleging the brothers used bogus accounts to amplify their reach on the platform. “The Twitter Rules apply to everyone,” a Twitter rep said in a statement. “Operating multiple fake [...]

  • Snapchat

    Snap in Talks to License Music to Let Snapchat Users Embed Songs in Posts

    Snap wants to up Snapchat’s music game. The company has been in negotiations with music companies including the big three — Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group — to license song catalogs for the Snapchat app, according to two industry sources familiar with the talks, confirming a Wall Street Journal report. [...]

  • T-mobile - Netflix - John Legere

    T-Mobile Passes Netflix Price Hike Through to Subscribers

    T-Mobile is getting ready to raise prices for subscribers who have taken advantage of its “Netflix On Us” promotion: The mobile carrier will begin charging existing customers who have participated in the promotion an additional $2 per month to account for Netflix’s recent price increase. Consumers will see their bill go up starting on 6/2. [...]

  • Oona King

    Snap Hires Google Exec Oona King as First VP of Diversity and Inclusion

    Snap continues to fill out the ranks of its revamped leadership team: The Snapchat parent tapped Oona King, most recently Google’s director of diversity strategy and a former member of British Parliament with the Labour Party, as its first VP of diversity and inclusion. King, who starts at Snap on June 11, is also the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content