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How TouchCast is putting the web inside video

TouchCast is a medium that puts the web inside a video and a TV studio inside an app...

TouchCast allows you to create interactive videos with anything from the web – including other video, pictures and documents. It is currently available on iPad, desktop and professional broadcast studios. 

Touchcast ()

Above: touchcast.com screengrab

With an array of high-profile clients including the BBC, Unilever, Unicef, Wall Street Journal, Accenture and Condé Nast, FIPP asked Danielle Ricketts to have chat with Paul Field, its CEO for Europe and speaker at the upcoming London Start-up Tour, to find out more about what they do and why magazine media publishers still have a long way to go when it comes to video.

What is the main aim of TouchCast for the media industry?

Everyone in the media industry needs better video and more of it. At TouchCast we make video much richer – and easy to produce efficiently and at scale.

TouchCast puts the web inside video. Anything from the web – live news feeds, social media, web pages – as well as other video, documents and images opens inside the video.

This means short form video – say, 2 minutes – can be a container for 20 minutes or even 2 hours of rich interactive content. The viewer gets to have a quick dip or a deep dive. It’s up to them. It’s empowering.

We call this new medium the videoweb. It looks like TV but feels like the web, and media partners like the BBC, Wall Street Journal, Globo, Financial Times and RTE enjoy unprecedented levels of engagement – interaction rates of up to 85%.

Is this making video production easier? 

TouchCast has put all the core features of a broadcast studio into an iPad app. This is HD production, editing and post production all in one simple-to-use app…and you can add the full richness of the entire web without any coding or development knowledge. We make it easy with what we call video apps or vApps.

From your experience of working in the legacy media industry, why would magazine media companies benefit from using TouchCast? 

I worked in national newspapers for 20 years and in my last role at the Daily Mail, where I’d been third in command on the paper and editor-in-chief in Ireland, I was running a digital business called Mail Plus, a suite of highly interactive apps across multiple platforms.

Mail Plus was a separate division to Mail Online and had been set up to target the average print reader – 57-year-old Mrs Mail who loved the paper but wasn’t well-disposed to reading it on a website, where most of the content wasn’t very much like what she found in the printed paper. What mesmerised me was the engagement rates - the average time spent in the app each day was around 55 minutes – much longer than time spent reading the printed paper. And they were watching lots of video, playing loads of puzzles and games, and interacting with 360 images and footage.

Additionally, our subscribers were late adopters of technology - for many of them, an iPad or Samsung tablet was their first device. At the time, I was absolutely convinced that video consumption was blowing up at lightning speed and the print industry I’d loved for 20 years was barely scratching the surface.

This was two years ago and the print industry is still struggling with the problem of how to exploit growing consumer demand for video – TouchCast is a solution to this problem.

When I saw TouchCast for the first time in June 2013 and met its incredible founder Edo Segal, my instinct was I had to leave the Mail and join this incredible start-up where interactive video is just one part of the video innovation that drives us. I did that in December 2013 and I haven’t looked back.

What is the main advantage of using TouchCast for magazine media companies?

TouchCast has been embraced in four key verticals. In education, teachers use TouchCast for flipped learning and students use it for assignments. For brands like Levi's, TouchCast offers an opportunity for customers to transact with them inside video. For corporate clients like Accenture and Unilever, TouchCast is for transforming communications – internal and external to clients.

For the media – and this is as relevant to magazine media companies as it is broadcasters like BBC and Globo – TouchCast offers the two advantages I spoke about earlier; it enables richer storytelling where the viewer feels empowered by being put in control of their experience and it offers a simple, efficient way to produce video at scale, without the need to invest in expensive, hi-tech equipment. Some media companies have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds kitting out shiny studio facilities and editing suites. I’ve seen some of them – and they’re usually empty! There’s just no need for it. Get an iPad, pull out your iPhone. Mobile journalism is the future.

What makes TouchCast unique compared to other products on the market? 

Other interactive video platforms bounce viewers out of video they’re watching, opening interactive content in another tab. It’s such a bad experience. Our unique tech treats video as the canvas for the entire web and you stay inside the video.

In addition, other interactive video platforms focus on adding elements or overlays to video shot and edited elsewhere. TouchCast is alone in offering our creators the ability to shoot professional video and edit it before adding the web and other rich content to it.

Why are you excited about meeting FIPP's delegates on the London Start-up Tour in November?

Everyone who comes to our offices in Hackney will get stuck into a live demo and no one will leave without having created a TouchCast. They’ll see how easy it is. They’ll experience the magic. And they’ll be excited about the potential. We can’t wait to host the delegates. 

The FIPP London Start-up Tour will take place on 16-18 November 2015. The Tour will allow you to get up close and personal with the London media and digital scene and introduce you to leaders in the industry.

See what other companies are confirmed on the Tour. Go to the Programme tab on www.fipp.com/learn/fipp-london-start-up-tour 

Our summer offer ends on 31 August: Book your place on the tour at the Early Bird Rate  

Be sure not to miss out!

If you have any questions, simply email Christine Huntingford and/or Jenny Stubbs.

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