Azuki: Making Mobile Video More Accessible


As tough as it may seem to believe with all the hype over the new iPhone, there are still millions and millions of cell phones running on pre-3G networks that can still handle video. Those of us with older, less sophisticated handsets often feel neglected. We can watch video on our phones; we just can’t stream it very well, so don’t forget about us.

Start-up Azuki Systems has a goal of driving the mainstream adoption of mobile video for the rest of us. To do so, it’s taken the concept of video snack bits to a new, smaller level with its MediaMash Platform. spoke with Azuki co-founder and VP of marketing John Tremblay about his company’s unique approach to making mobile video accessible to the masses. According to Tremblay, unless you have an iPhone, most of today’s mobile video experiences are “flat.” Azuki wants to change this.

To learn more about Azuki and its MediaMash platform, click continued.

To drive adoption of mobile video, what first needs to happen is making video content easier to find and consume on mainstream handsets. With most consumers, if you make them search for content, they won’t use it; the focus needs to be on getting relevant content to the end user.

The second important thing to remember is that the phone is a communications device, and sharing content is a way to communicate, Tremblay said. So, the ability to share video snippets should be easier and more fluid than it is with most services.

Azuki sees the key to success is making mobile video snackable and putting it at the end user’s fingertips. Its MediaMash Platform breaks a video down into nine chunks that make up a 3 x 3 tile block. Users can choose to watch the complete video at once or click on an individual tile. They can even dive into a tile to view only the parts of that segment they want to view.

MediaMash also has a commenting feature that allows viewers to comment on any part of the video and share the whole video or just the particular bit with their comment. A little pencil icon appears with a segment that has comments, so whoever the user sent it to doesn’t have to search for the comments. Instead, they can just dive right in and add their own notes.

Recognizing that consumers like free mobile content, and advertisers like an interested audience, Azuki built MediaMash to support advertising. An advertiser can take over one of the nine tiles and make use of the ability for viewers to drill down. A carmaker, for example, could use the tile for a video ad. When the viewer clicks on it, the tile itself breaks into nine tiles with each representing a different model, so the consumer is able to view only the segment on hybrids or convertibles and eventually drill down to the carmaker’s Web site.

Unlike many other video solutions that require a client download, Azuki’s platform is fully browser-based, which makes it compatible with any Web-enabled phone. The smart platform understands the user context, so it is aware of the type of phone, network and browser and can deliver a personalized, optimized experience, Tremblay said.

Although it’s a powerful platform on its own, Azuki doesn’t necessarily view MediaMash as a standalone solution. According to Tremblay, the platform can complement a content provider’s on-deck partnerships. For instance, the content owner could sell premium content on-deck and offer free, snackable video on its mobile site through Azuki.