Cinemacraft, a startup that wants to replace static video thumbnails with its interactive Videograms, has raised a $1.5 million strategic funding round from investors NTT DoCoMo, Turner Broadcasting’s Media Camp and 500 Startups. Combined with an earlier seed round of $500,000 from 500 Startups and angel investors, this brings Cinemacraft’s total funding raised to date to $2 million.
Founded in July 2012 and based in Tokyo, Cinemacraft’s platform allows publishers to promote content with “Videograms,” or interactive images that highlight different clips from a video instead of the usual thumbnail. Cinemacraft says this gives its clients more opportunities for monetization and marketing on social media platforms. Videograms also allow publishers to create a visual summary of their video’s content, which gives them a better chance at enticing viewers than with a single freeze frame. An algorithm is used to determine which frames are shown on a Videogram, which is written completely in HTML5 to work across different platforms and products.
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Once a Videogram is published, viewers can comment on and share individual clips, enabling publishers to see what parts of the video are getting the most engagement. Ads can also be placed within the Videogram, which is automatically refreshed based on which frames are the most popular.
Cinemacraft says another advantage of Videograms is that they help content grab more eyeballs, since many viewers will close a video within 10 seconds if they think it’s boring. Instead of worrying about how to make the first few seconds the most attention-grabbing, content creators can focus instead on making sure that the entire video is engaging.
Cinemacraft has run campaigns for clients including Fox Pictures, Sony Pictures, Capitol Records and other music labels. The startup says it will use its latest round of funding to scale globally, improve its platform and expand its core team.