With its new HyperCD technology, BroadBridge Media, New York, a rich media and Internet solutions provider, has created an online bridge between Web sites and interactive disc-based products. The goal is to drive traffic to the Web and generate additional sales opportunities.
Like other CDs on the market, HyperCD removes a piece of the rich media file before it’s put onto a disc. That piece is retrieved only by bringing the user online to the CD distributor’s Web site. At that point the complete video file is created. But HyperCD also brings the user back to the host Web site every time the content is viewed; other CDs provide users with the complete video.
Following the playback, the trigger file remains on the user’s desktop as a branded icon. Each time the user clicks on the icon, he connects to the host site to view the content. Companies don’t have to worry about copyright issues because the user will never be able to fully possess the content.
Ken Park, president and coo of BroadBridge, said HyperCD offers content distributors “a venue for users to come back to each and every time to watch a video, or movie clip.” Also, he added, “The entire loading and playback process is instantaneous even if you are on a dialup.”
SOLD ON SPEED
That speed is key, because bandwidth is an issue for many users. “Even though we have trailers on our Web site, a lot of our users don’t have the bandwidth to view them,” said Donna Williams, senior vice president of marketing and business development for BigStar Entertainment, New York. “That’s one reason we went with BroadBridge.”
BigStar worked with BroadBridge to make the HyperCD “BigStar Drive-In, Volume One,” which was released two weeks ago and contains 25 movie trailers–for Life Is Beautiful and Shakespeare in Love, among others.
CDNOW, a New York-based online music network working with BroadBridge, plans to give its users a HyperCD collection of music videos at the end of the month. “Right now, the only thing you can interact with on the CDNOW Web site are sound samples,” said Ted Hooban, director of digital products for CDNOW. “We thought, ‘What if we can add a whole array of multimedia content like video and movie content, and deliver those to customers for viewing while looping them back to our site to make transactions?’ The HyperCD enables us to do this.”
Some major music companies, such as Sire Records, already have used HyperCD to provide consumers with quality video content. “Along with the single ‘Window- licker’ by the group Aphex Twin, we were able to include a music video that was too controversial to be shown on television,” explained Steven Savoca, director of marketing, Sire Records, New York. Sire Records also has released six HyperCDs for the Canadian group The Tragically Hip, which also contain music videos previously unavailable in the U.S.
TAPPING AD POTENTIAL
Companies, not surprisingly, are looking at the potential advertising space created by the HyperCD. BroadBridge said it makes money when users actually make a purchase on the host site, thanks to a revenue-sharing arrangement. Williams notes that BigStar hasn’t sold any advertising yet because it wanted first “to create e-commerce activity, develop loyalty and track its consumers;” however, the company is getting ready to explore advertising opportunities.
“Now that we are seeing a positive response and the prolonged time users are spending on the site with Drive-In,” noted Williams, “we see there is a lot of room for advertising, for both technology sponsors and the Hollywood movie companies.” BigStar is deciding whether to hire an interactive agency to help with its ad strategy on the HyperCDs.
BroadBridge also has created a HyperCD for the Jim Henson Co., expected out within the next month. “It will be an online companion for Jim Henson’s television broadcasting,” said Park, declining to provide additional details. Other deals may follow. “There are many opportunities out there now for us with people putting out disc-based gaming systems, such as PlayStation 2, that use a modem and are perfect for our technology,” he added. n