March 9, 2008 / 10:10 AM / 12 years ago

Technology turns music videos into shopping portals

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - View music videos and shop at the same time. That’s the premise behind an innovative advertising and entertainment branding program launched by GET Interactive.

By way of GET Interactive’s Ad-Venture technology, viewers watching a video on the Internet or a mobile phone will be offered the option of opening a new window to browse through still images and shop for products tagged with a GET Shop Spot.

The technology goes live in March with Knockout Entertainment/DEJA34/Koch artist Ray J’s “Sexy Can I” video. Winston-Salem, N.C.-based GET Interactive has signed content deals with Universal Music Group and Sega of America. The company is also in discussions with Epic Records.

GET Interactive CEO Rick Harrison sees the company becoming a partner with record labels to help generate more revenue and cover the cost of production on video shoots.

“We’re not trying to force a banner ad, streaming ad or another ad form in consumers’ faces,” he says. “Our opt-in platform really opens up the door for brands to deliver compelling brand interaction with a very targeted consumer.”

Harrison says the sky is the limit in terms of the types of products that can be flagged. Apparel, accessories and cosmetics are popular choices. But cars, packaged goods and electronics also can be targeted. Beyond being linked to a purchase page, consumers could click to get a coupon, play a branded videogame, enter a sweepstakes or watch a special ad about a product category.

FROM ANONYMITY TO COMMODITY

“Now all of the historically anonymous items can be identified and branded for a one-on-one experience,” Harrison says. He’s quick to note that GET Interactive is not a placement firm but works with such companies.

In the case of Ray J’s “Sexy Can I” video — which has already claimed more than 1 million YouTube hits — Koch is shooting new scenes in which Ray J and featured rapper Young Berg wear particular brands. In turn, GET Interactive is building its platform from a product list drawn up by Ray J, the video director and a stylist.

Of partnering with GET Interactive for its live launch, Koch vice president of digital and mobile Bill Crowley says, “R&B/hip-hop videos really do help create street fashion trends. Ray is a perfect artist to try this out with. His audience base is broad, moving from core R&B/hip-hop to pop. The more ways we can involve consumers with our artists, the better.”

An early devotee of TiVo, Harrison devised the GET Interactive concept when he wondered how TiVo technology would affect commercials. He began working full-time on the GET technology two years ago. When a nonpromoted beta test in 2007 with the Paramount DVD release “Freedom Writers” drew impressive consumer response, he moved forward.

The goal is to partner with as many premium content owners and developers in as many entertainment arenas as possible, including college sports, TV programming and movies. Harrison is customizing the program for cable providers to allow a two-way experience via set-top boxes.

“What you’ve been handed, by definition, is your target audience,” Harrison says. “They’ve chosen to seek out brands in the video, clicked on the ad and asked to be told more. No one comes here by accident.”

Reuters/Billboard

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