The Boulder Source was very fortunate to catch up with Caleb Hanson, VP of Product at Rapt Media, a Boulder-based interactive video platform company offering exciting and powerful digital video storytelling technology — the only of its kind — with clients including Warner Brothers Pictures, Philips, Maybelline, Deloitte, and Conde Nast Entertainment.
Boulder Source: What is your background and how did you get involved with Rapt Media?
CH: I have a degree in Visual Communication (a blend of communications, art and computer science), and after college, I worked in Marketing on digital production and creative. It was a natural move for me to go into UI / UX design, and I found that I really loved the startup environment. I found Rapt Media through a personal connection and was immediately taken with the company and the technology. How often do you get to work at a company that’s fundamentally changing the future of video?
Boulder Source: Can you talk about the evolution of Rapt Media? How did it start and how did it move in this direction?
CH: Rapt was born out of a desire to bring together the storytelling capabilities of video with the choice and interactivity of video games. Our founders, Erika Trautman and Cameron McCaddon, have backgrounds in video and video games (respectively), and were working on a project and found a lack of technology to make it happen. This was in 2010, and the world of technology was just starting to think “mobile first” and was still unsure if Flash or HTML5 were the future. Erika and Cameron bet on HTML5 and pushed to create a cross-device experience that allowed users to navigate within a video experience.
Boulder Source: What makes Rapt Media such a powerful tool conceptually? How is it changing storytelling?
CH: What makes Rapt Media so powerful is that it is bringing video storytelling to the place where verbal storytelling is – You don’t tell the same story the same way to everyone, you respond to your audience when you tell a story. Watch someone who tells a good story and they react to the person to whom they’re speaking, going into more detail when the listener seems interested in a point, or speeding ahead when the listener starts to appear bored. It’s a much more compelling experience, and the numbers support that.
Boulder Source: Technology-wise, can you tell us about the platform and its capabilities?
CH: We are a cloud-based SaaS platform for creating HTML5 interactive video experiences that work natively across all devices. Our interactive videos can be navigated the same way one would navigate a website. At a technical level, we take advantage of best-in-class tech and global CDN edge locations to provide fast playback all over the world. We have a great visual UI that allows creatives to create without having to worry about the technical aspects of what is a very technically complex result.
Boulder Source: How does Rapt Media expand reach and engagement for your clients?
CH: By allowing users to navigate the video, they can easily find content that’s relevant to them. This experience is engaging, so users spend more time in Rapt Media interactive videos than standard linear videos, and are more likely to share or convert.
Boulder Source: How are your big clients using Rapt Media? What are some of the most creative videos you’ve seen using Rapt Media technology?
CH: Rapt Media has active high-profile media companies, agencies, and brands as customers. These include Warner Bros., HBO, Conde Nast Entertainment, Rapp, Havas People, Maybelline, Toyota, Deloitte, and Anheuser Busch to name a few. Our showcase page www.raptmedia.com/showcase has examples of what our clients have done.A recent case study includes Ogilvy’s Philips’ “Designed to Play” campaign. One guy, six beards and 1,000+ possibilities. Philips’ goal was to reach millennial men via their mobile devices. The results were impressive:
- 65% of viewers watched the video on iPhone or Android devices
- Average mobile interactive video viewing time exceeded 4 minutes
- Average viewer interacted three to four times
- Sold 16% more razors as direct result of the campaign
The results across all of our customers include increased mobile reach, more meaningful engagement, deeper insights and conversions.Boulder Source: Rapt Media is on the cutting edge of online and mobile video technology, which is a fast-growing industry. What are some of the industry trends that you have your eye on?
CH: The first is that HTML5 standards are gaining adoption across browsers and new features are available in the browser every day. Right now, WebGL, a technology that allows the browser to take advantage of the computer’s graphics card, is becoming universally supported, which opens up more computing power to the browser. One thing coming out of this is 360-degree video. The equipment for shooting 360-degree video is getting more accessible, and sites like YouTube are starting to support playback. Combined with VR, immersive video starts to become a pretty feasible idea. It’s still a young technology and VR has some hurdles to overcome so it’ll be interesting to see where it goes.
Boulder Source: What is the vision of the future for Rapt Media?
CH: In a word: Ubiquity. There’s going to be a time when consuming non-interactive video on your devices will seem as antiquated as listening to a radio drama does today. Creators of video are seeing the value that comes with interactivity, in terms of data-driven business intelligence and user engagement, and they are shifting their production and distribution plans toward interactive video. As more and more great interactive video content is created, consumers of content will start expecting it and anything that is not interactive is going to seem flat and old. Rapt Media wants to help that transition by facilitating creation of interactive video content and by providing the kind of data that drives business insights.
To learn more about Rapt Media, visit: http://www.raptmedia.com/