In today's online world, there are audio streaming sites (Spotify et al), and there are video streaming sites (Youtube, Vevo, etc.); however, those two worlds are mostly separate. However, one local startup--Vadio (www.vadio.com)--is hoping to bring those worlds together, by using technology to automatically add and synchronize video streaming to existing, audio streaming sites. We caught up with Bryce Clemmer, the co-founder and CEO of the company, to learn more. Vadio came out of LA's Amplify startup accelerator, and now has operations both in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. (Editor's note: we're dual running this content across our Southern California and Pacific Northwest Site, since Vadio is split between the two regions).
What is Vadio all about?
Bryce Clemmer: We take any audio stream, and evolve it into a synchronized video stream. Say you are listening to a music stream. We determine that the music you are playing and listening to is AC/DC. We determine that by listening to that song, and we'll go out and find the official music video and sync up the music to the video. As the song changes in your stream, the video changes in real time, too. What that ultimately becomes, is we're able to take any audio stream and evolve it into something like a real-time MTV.
How did you start the company?
Bryce Clemmer: We were studying this area, and two things that jumped out at me was data that was showing digital audio platforms were exponentially increasing in terms of usage, and at the same time, digital video platforms, such as YouTube, were also exponentially increasing. We tried to figure out why people would go to an audio platform, which might be a iHeartradio, Pandora, or Spotify, and why people would go to platforms like YouTube for music. What we realized, was that people went to the audio sites for curation, and went to YouTube for the video of that same content. For us, it became obvious that everything on the Internet has become, and is becoming more visual. So, why not try to leverage the curation of those audio platforms on the web, and combine it with the video?
What were you doing before Vadio?Bryce Clemmer: We were actually in school prior to this, and I had worked at Apple while I was at school. I was one of the original iPhone geeks.
When you put together these audio and video tracks, do you run into any licensing issues?
Bryce Clemmer: Fortunately, there are no issues there. The reason why, as you can see with our recent Vevo announcement, is that we're working with existing platforms like YouTube and Vevo, who already have licenses to offer and provide those music videos. So, ultimately, if we have the correct deals in place, where we source everything within the terms of service of those platforms, everything is taken care of. Everyone is compensated properly, and they all benefit from our technology because all of the content is properly licensed.
You spent some time at a few accelerators--how was that experience for you?
Bryce Clemmer: Quite frankly, that was quite instrumental to us early on. The two we went through early on were Amplify in Los Angeles, and Weiden & Kennedy in Portland, which made an investment through PIE. Both of those were instrumental. Amplify was instrumental, because having a network down here in Los Angeles within the technology community, in addition to the media industry, was really the biggest value add in our early days. We were able to form the right relationships, meet the right people, and have the right conversations as we built our technology, optimized it, and focused on the business. If we had the opportunity to do it again, we'd do it exactly the same as we've done it. The one with Weiden & Kennedy was instrumental, because it gave us access to some of the largest brands in the world, who are already spending money advertising on all of these digital platforms. We were able to sit down and have a conversation with people who are responsible for the biggest brands, and understand what kind of consumer experience they are really looking to spend money on this year. Being able to sit down with both of those groups, and get their perspective, has been invaluable.
Was it difficult to start up a company split across two cities?
Bryce Clemmer: To an extent. It's always more productive to have people together in person, because of person-to-person interaction. At the same time, it's been quite fascinating to use all of the tools that are available today for communications. It's made things very easy for us to have people in multiple locations, and still be productive. There are a number of different important factors, of course, you have to have the right people, and you have to find people who already have good rapport in person. For the most part, fortunately, it has not been all that challenging for us.
How do the financial aspects of this work out for all the parties?
Bryce Clemmer: If you look at what we do, in most cases there are three paid platforms. There's one, like Vevo, where the videos are coming from; the second is us, the provider of the technology, the reach, and the platform to integrate video and advertising plus analytics; and the third is the media company we are parting with. The beauty of this, is that video CPM ad rates are some of the highest, if not the highest CPMs garnered in the online world today. As a result, when we're able to deliver synchronized, TV-like experiences and channels, everyone makes money. In online TV or sites like Hulu, you get roughly twenty minutes of content, and after that you get a one or two minute video ad. After the commercial break, you get 20 to 30 minutes of content, and so on and so on. Because we're capable of showing high value, premium video ads within these channels, it makes for a very large pie to go around in terms of revenue generated. As a result, between our partners, between Vevo and media partners, we're able to figure out what's logical for each of the three parties to ensure everyone sees a return.
What's the next thing for you?
Bryce Clemmer: More or less, what we're currently working on is looking at providing synchronized video and music to the major media platforms. We want to be able to provide curated video channels across both online and mobile platforms.. There are so many different groups and reputable companies who are looking for that, so we're hoping on nailing some very large partnerships.
Thanks, and good luck!