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A New Way to Breathe Life Into Old Web Video Ads

Fuisz Media pivots away from "shoppable" video ads, and raises $2.1 million.

Fuisz Media
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

“Shoppable TV” — the notion that it would be cool if you could sit on your couch and order clothes you saw people wearing on-screen — is one of those ideas that people have been chasing since Web 1.0. Justin Fuisz was trying to do it, too.

Then he had a better idea. Or, at least, one that is easier to fund: Instead of using the tech his startup had built to create a commerce business, he is building an ad play instead.

Fuisz Media’s new pitch is that it can make Web ads more interactive, which is supposed to make them more valuable. The basic idea is that its software can automatically identify Web video images — and instead of telling people how to buy Jennifer Aniston’s shirt, it can let advertisers add links on top of the clip.

Here’s an example from Jell-O, which is pretty self-explanatory (unless you’re looking at it on an iPhone – see below):

You’ve seen videos that let you click on images before, but those are usually bespoke efforts. Fuisz says his software lets advertisers take videos they’ve already made, and make them clickable when they’re already on publishers’ sites, using a few lines of code.

In most cases, that is: Fuisz says this stuff will work on laptops, iPads and most phones — but not on the iPhone’s Web browser, because of the specialized way the phone treats video. Fuisz can work on iPhone apps, though.

That idea was enough to land a $2.1 million seed round led by Metamorphic Ventures and Lerer Hippeau Ventures; other investors include Buddy Media’s Mike Lazerow and Right Media’s Michael Walrath.

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