Summary:

Animoto’s new partner program will put it in front of millions of potential new users. By hooking into photo galleries offered by Kodak and others and striking revenue-share deals, the program could increase usage of the service and revenues that it collects.

Animoto

Cloud video startup Animoto has a pretty cool service for taking user-submitted videos and pictures, setting them to music, and automatically generating video slideshows out of those assets. The main problem Animoto has had so far is that users need to know about it before they can use it. Sure, it’s been able to grow its user numbers with social sharing features and hooks into social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but the vast majority of its users are still web-savvy early adopters.

A new partner program aims to change all that by making its video slideshow service available where everyday users already are. The program, which Animoto announced this morning at SXSW, will give multiple third-party photo sites the ability to offer users the same cloud-based video creation tools that are available on Animoto.com.

The first three partners in the program — Kodak Gallery (s EK), AG Interactive and Aviary.com — will instantly open Animoto’s potential user base to many who didn’t know the service existed. The partnership with Kodak is especially interesting, as it hooks into a service where many users already store their photos online. That way, they won’t have to upload their photos to create a slideshow; they can use photos already in their gallery. AG Interactive — the interactive arm of American Greetings — will make a similar offering available to its Webshots.com users.

While giving Animoto access to a whole new set of potential users, it also opens up revenue-generating possibilities for it and its partners. Animoto operates on a freemium model, allowing users to create short (30-second) video slideshows for free, with the option to pay a small one-time fee for individual slideshow creation or a subscription for unlimited number of slideshows. Now it’s striking revenue-share agreements with partnering companies, and CEO Brad Jefferson told us in a phone interview he expects third-party revenue to quickly outpace that which is generated on the Animoto.com site.

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