• SundaySky - AOL StudioNow Partnership is a Great Example of Video Innovation

    A partnership announced yesterday between SundaySky and StudioNow is another great example of how video is being used to innovate traditional ways of doing business. For those not familiar with either company, SundaySky's technology platform, which I last wrote about here, creates real-time, personalized videos at scale using templates and data feeds, and StudioNow (which is part of AOL's Advertising.com division) offers distributed video production and syndication services.

    The partnership creates a new sales channel for SundaySky, while enhancing the range of services StudioNow can offer its clients. As SundaySky's president and CRO Jim Disco explained to me yesterday, the exciting part is how SundaySky's technology is being innovatively applied and the new value it creates for customers like real estate service provider ListingBook, which was also announced yesterday.

    ListingBook's real estate agent clients will now have the option, for an extra fee, of creating a range of videos for their properties. These are meant to augment, not replace, the highly customized videos that a StudioNow videographer might create for the property (e.g. showcasing certain details of the kitchen, the walk-in closets, etc.). To generate the SundaySky videos, the agent would simply fill out a form with standard data fields (e.g. when the property was built, the number of rooms, acreage, and specific attributes, like "water view" or "near schools," etc.). SundaySky then combines this data with previously built templates, voice-overs and graphics to automatically create short videos that provide context for the property.

    Going a step further, no two of SundaySky's videos for the property need to be the same. For example, ListingBook offers buyers the ability to select certain search criteria that are important to them (again, things like "water view" or "near schools"). So when one buyer accesses the video, it may begin, "This beautiful home with a water view" whereas for another it may begin, "This beautiful home, within walking distance to schools" and so on. Every element of the video can be modified in real-time, so that each buyer gets a completely customized video, which in turn enhances the service the agent delivers and the experience the buyer receives, all helping drive toward a sale.

    The key here is that SundaySky enables this personalization automatically, using pre-built templates and assets, coupled with current data feeds. This mass customization approach yields videos that are both cost-effective and high-impact. Beyond real estate, Jim described how the same approach is being applied in other verticals like automotive, e-commerce, telecom, financial services, and travel/hospitality. In some cases SundaySky partners with companies with strong industry relationships, such as StudioNow in real estate or Amdocs in telecom (where AT&T is now a customer), while in others it's building a direct sales force. Jim also envisions personalized videos depending on where the customer is in the life cycle (e.g. welcome/explanation, services upselling, retention, etc.).  

    The SundaySky/StudioNow partnership is another great example of how innovative uses of video can drive new value. Just as web sites have become table stakes for all businesses, video is now also becoming a must-have feature. But balancing cost, scalability and personalization is incredibly important. Solutions that do this are going to be in high demand.