In addition to serving as an advertising-driven platform for community and publishing websites, Playkast wants to provide a more participatory video experience for brand advertisers. An example is a French's Mustard What message would you leave for French's? campaign, created as part of an early test of the platform. The video features a walking bottle of mustard checking its answering machine ("Hi, gorgeous, it's Hot Dog--want to meet up?"). At the end, viewers are prompted to provide their own video responses.
Other Playkast experiences are entirely built around user submissions answering questions like What do you think of Ali Lohan's new look?. Either way, the point is user video participation. People can upload a video, record one live off a webcam, or submit a URL for a video on YouTube.
Playkast CEO Larry Braitman previously co-founded a couple of Internet advertising startups, Flycast and Adify.
"What I saw was people were posting video online, but they weren't getting any follow up from that," Braitman said. "We want to turn it from a flat video experience to an interactive experience that encourages participation and sharing."
Like YouTube, Playkast provides an embeddable player that can be added to any Web page or blog post. It can also be displayed within Facebook, as you can see from the Playkast Facebook page. Playkast doesn't even provide the option of commenting on videos with text posts. That was part of one of the early prototypes, but it ultimately seemed beside the point, Braitman said. Besides, the videos are often posted to a blog or other environment that includes its own text-based commenting. What Playkast really wants to do is invite a response in video format, he said.
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Those who don't want to submit their own videos can participate by voting on other people's submissions. Playkast is also experimenting with other formats like collections, where users are prompted to submit links to their favorite videos on YouTube, as opposed to original content, as well as video polls and quizzes.
Playkast's ultimate goal is to help its customers achieve higher engagement and "earned media" recognition by giving website visitors a reason to share video content--because they are part of it.
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