Companies from Netflix to YouTube to Facebook are scrambling to build the best algorithm to predict exactly what video you want to watch next. They want to find a way to capture your attention so you jump instantly from one video into another.
But Y-Combinator startup Pulpix has taken a different approach to the idea of video “recommendations,” one that has more to do with design than maths. In its beta, Pulpix has helped 30 partners like Vice, GQ, and Le Monde drive an average 20% increase in video views for users who interact with Pulpix’s overlay technology.
The problem with video
“We felt there was something missing in video,” cofounder Sabry Otmani tells Business Insider. With text articles, you have links that can easily give you deeper information. You jump into a new article if you want and then come right back where you left off. It’s not as simple for video. Most of the time, everything is tucked inside because it’s painful to bounce around, Otmani says.
That has led most video publishers to just stick recommendations at the end of the video, to try and stop you from leaving.
But Pulpix’s main design thesis is that you, the user, don’t just want a recommendation to be the next thing you watch. Sometimes you want to see articles, social pages, or other types of information while you are still watching the video.
How Pulpix works
This is where Pulpix comes in. One of Pulpix’s main features is a picture-in-picture platform that lets you browse an article while still watching the video out of the corner of your eye, and listening to the audio. It’s a feature built for the frenzied multitaskers many of us have become, and cofounder Denis Vilar says it has been particularly effective for longer videos.
Here is what it looks like:
Pulpix also has a post-video recommendation system, but it keeps with the company’s belief that video shouldn’t be a walled garden. The founders say that when you are consuming media, you are actively switching between text, video, and social media. Vilar says the post-video piece of the platform has worked well for shorter videos.
Here is what that looks like:
With this two-pronged approach, Pulpix hopes it can lure publishers with the promise of keeping viewers on their sites longer.
Pulpix is offering its software free to publishers with under 100,000 visitors per month, and for larger partners, it charges a commission based on the profit a company gets from the boost in views.
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