Some of the best ideas come from people who don’t work for you: That’s a lesson startups learn time and again. Take ReelSurfer, for example. The Menlo Park, California-based video startup has been offering users an easy way to clip and share highlights of videos ever since it launched last summer, but is now courting media companies as well.
A big part of that idea has been to target folks who don’t actually shoot their own videos. “The majority of people just consume content online,” ReelSurfer co-founder Neil Jogeklar said during an interview this week. ReelSurfer wanted to give these people tools to become creative and mash up their favorite videos to construct highlight reels or share their favorite moments.
But then something interesting happened: Reuters started using it to recut its own clips — and the team over at ReelSurfer felt like they were onto something. The startup started talking to the news organization, and learned that Reuters was just trying to find ways to optimize its footage for social sharing via Twitter and Facebook. (s FB) “They’re competing for people with a short attention span for a short amount of time,” Jogeklar explained.
ReelSurfer quizzed the folks over at Reuters about the challenges the news organization is facing and quickly learned that one of the biggest concerns was referral traffic. Fore example, when Reuters was sharing a YouTube video, people who click through were ending up on YouTube, (s GOOG) not its own site.
That’s why ReelSurfer gave Reuters the ability to easily add a destination URL to their clips. That sounds simple, but actually worked remarkably well: Videos shared by Reuters saw a click-trhough-rate of 13 percent, according to ReelSurfer. The company also added some extra SEO optimization, and shared video analytics with the news organization.
After a few months of testing, ReelSurfer is now making some of these extra features available to other media organizations as well. The company just started its ReelSurfer for journalists program, which basically makes the functionality that Reuters has been using available to bloggers and other online journalists.
ReelSurfer for journalists is currently still in private beta, and the company is working on building out a full-featured analytics dashboard for media organizations. There are definitely other options for this kind of use case out there as well — but ReelSurfer is definitely one of the easier solutions. Editing a clip with ReelSurfer just takes a minute or two. It’s hard to beat that, especially when you’re on a deadline.
Check out this really short highlight I cut from one of our review videos, which will point you to the original review story: