Innovid Inserts Nifty Interactive In-Video Ads

We received word that an Israeli company called Innovid is “coming out of stealth mode” today. That expression strikes us a little strange considering there seems to be plenty of coverage on what the company does, and the company has presented at IAB, tech industry, and Hollywood events. But Innovid’s PR person tells us the difference is the company today launched a web site that demonstrates and describes its offering.

Semantics aside, it seems that Innovid has a pretty cool technology for inserting interactive objects in videos. In a demo video on the site, you can play the computer game Breakout Pong using the walls of a room as surfaces, while a video plays in the same frame of a man in the room. Another demo shows that an ad overlay adopting characteristics of movement detected in a video. Unfortunately, I can’t embed these here, so you’ll have to go to the site to see for yourself.

This type of ad technology seems to be a particularly ripe area for new startups — for instance we wrote about the Stanford startup ZunaVision, which also elegantly inserts ads into the background of videos.

But this isn’t just technology for technology’s sake. Interactive and context-aware objects also seem promising in terms of making ads more engaging, as well as tying into ongoing growth in the product placement market.

Innovid raised $3 million from Genesis Partners in March 2008, and before that received angel funding from Jeff Pulver. It has yet to announce any customers, which poses a problem given the state of the market.

innovid_analyticsUpdate: We just spoke to Innovid CEO Zvika Netter, who said that what differentiates his company’s technology is its ability to bring together objects within a video on a frame-by-frame basis on the fly. That means it doesn’t have to render a new video each time it inserts an object, but rather it can 1) use different objects based on a things like time and place, and 2) provide detailed analytics about interaction with the object (see screenshot). Netter also said the company has two customers that it should be able to announce soon.