Today’s millennials and tech-savvy entrepreneurs are tired of the same old “sit back & watch” method of online video. Platforms such as NetflixHulu and Amazon Prime are all one-way, entertainment-based streaming services, which is great for viewership. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about streaming my favorite shows from an over-the-topdevice in the comfort of my living room, but now enterprise video marketers are shifting the balance between entertainment and business, delving even further into the emerging web-based video industry as interactivity makes a push to the forefront of modern streaming technologies.

The same can be said for “webcasting”—whoever invented that bleak word; the name alone just instills a sense of boredom into your pre-programmed mindset. Its practices are stagnant and outdated, leaving little to no room for viewers and participants to engage with the presenter on a digital—and social—level. Most content delivery networks (CDNs) arguably present themselves as one-way TV platforms, lacking any interactivity and an overall sense of engagement for viewers and meeting-goers. It’s time to change all that. It’s time to disrupt the industry with something truly new—truly interactive.

Companies boasting their interactive elements are creating new genres within the industry. In today’s startup economy, more & more platforms are emerging and stirring up competition. That’s where products like Blue JeansTivi and Rapt Media come into play. For years, since video first became a marketable online feature, “webcasting” has reigned supreme as a source of corporate communication amongst countless teams of employees. I can just picture it now: a room full of educated, like-minded young adults staring blankly at a screen, most likely daydreaming as they wait for the repetitive video presentation and Power Point slide transitions to end. There’s no back-and-forth, no interaction between them, and above all, zero engagement. What if you could add interactivity into the mix?

This past November, Tivi CEO John Vadino spoke at the Streaming Media West conference in Huntington Beach, Calif., during Tivi’s official launch. “45% of viewers will stop watching a video after just one minute, and 60% after two minutes,” Vadino said. “On top of that, 78% of marketers aren’t even using video at all in their campaigns, so how do we turn this around? By introducing interactivity.”

Now, let’s look at that dreary boardroom setting again, only this time the presenter is using Tivi: Truly Interactive Video, instead of the standard go-to platform represented earlier. The audience suddenly comes to life, given the ability to interact with the presenter on a more personal, immersive level. While the presenter is dragging & dropping content into place with Tivi’s Easy Virtual Studio, participants may be interacting with a live URL within the actual HTML5 browser. They may be signing up for a service, or making an eCommerce transaction—all without having to be redirected from Tivi’s browser-based tool. They could be taking a poll or quiz, interacting with social media, or even direct messaging the moderator him or herself. It’s interactive features such as these that make for a more engaging online video experience, but Tivi’s not the only market player in the game.

Blue Jeans took online video to an entirely different level with Blue Jeans’ Primetime, enabling large-scale two-way voice communication in event settings. The service can scale to connect thousands of participants to an event, as well as having the engagement features of traditional videoconferencing technology. In a sense, one might say the company is disrupting the industry in its own manner, instilling a new “interactive conferencing” genre into the existing melting pot of online video segmentation.

Rapt Media, a new interactive video startup that’s quickly building momentum, is also gaining ground in the interactive game, but what does it mean to be truly interactive? Sure, advertisers & marketers alike love the interactive storytelling features of platforms like Rapt, but aside from this niche group, does this myriad of extensive providers have the necessary capabilities to be considered interactive market players? Or are they just boasting elements of interactivity in a tool that is itself not fully immersive as a user platform?

Interactive video software such as these is filling a gap in the marketplace for streaming enterprise video. As more organizations begin to use live video capabilities more extensively, they become more open to the idea of embracing increasingly diverse uses for the technology. It’s time to truly engage your audience and let them into the driver’s seat for a change. The days of “sit back and watch”-style meetings and webinars are over. It’s time to embrace truly interactive video.

(Originally published via LinkedIn Pulse on July 22, 2015)


Max Greenwood is the managing director of social media for Tivi: Truly Interactive Video, a radical new online video platform incorporating interactivity into live and on-demand video content.