Overlay.tv making some good progress

I previously wrote about Overlay.tv back in April. It’s an innovative approach to embedding more information into videos. Basically, while watching a video you can click on targets that allow you to find out more information about different aspects of what you’re watching. While watching a video of a band, for instance, you can click on a target to see where to buy their album, get a link to their MySpace page, etc.

Back in April I said I was encouraged by the tech, but suggested a few improvements:

First, they should allow people to embed the videos.

Second, and more importantly, when the linked items are not naturally connected to something going on within the video (i.e. a link to a record as opposed to, say, a specific article of clothing someone in the video is wearing) the links need to be less intrusive. People are not thrilled that every TV show they watch has crawls and other things going on underneath, so making that even more emphatic ain’t going to win any fans.

I’m delighted to report that both issues have been resolved (I’m not in a million years saying that my suggestions had anything to do with these changes, by the way). I’m even more delighted to report that Overlay.tv has made a deal with Nettwerk Records.

I was hoping to be able to link to an artist I signed, who is currently a Nettwerk artist, Mr. Josh Rouse, but it appears they haven’t overlayed his stuff yet.

Instead, here’s a sample from Uh Huh Her:

As you can see, it’s not all wine and roses just yet. I’m on a fast connection, but it still sputters like crazy. Otherwise, I really think it shows a ton of promise.

I’d also like to give a shout out to the way Overlay’s art director, Faisal Sethi, is leveraging the blogs. As I mentioned, it’s been since April that I first wrote about Overlay. This writing occurred (as I noted in that post) because I got a very nice email from my Sethi about his product. After my blog post we corresponded a few times, but he never pestered me at all. It wasn’t until the news of the deal with Nettwerk that I received another email from Mr. Sethi informing me of the deal and offering an epk. The result…here I am blogging about it. Of course, I’m certain that Mr. Sethi sent that email out to any number of bloggers (and others), and that’s totally cool. Rather than hyping something up the wazoo when there was no news, Mr. Sethi waited until there was something to talk about, and reached out to people who had shown interest in the past. This seems so simple, yet so few people do it this way. The result? I, and certainly many others, will be writing about it.

What also interests me about this whole scenario is that Mr. Sethi’s title is “Art Director.” As I try and teach my entrepreneurship students, when you’re at a start up, everyone does everything. Of course the art director is doing some PR; that’s what it takes for start ups to succeed. I so much prefer getting messages from people in the company who are tied, heart and soul, to the product or service than from some PR flak who is “committed” to the product or service exactly as long as they’re retained and not one second longer.

Good on ya!

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