Photo via B.S. Wise & Linux Screenshots
My partner and I were working on putting together ‘explainer’ videos for two companies that we work with. An explainer video is usually between 60-90 seconds long and using images and cartoon–type characters briefly explains the company’s operations, philosophy or business model. In todays’ complex tech environment these have popped up on many websites.
My partner has used outsourced ‘agencies’ in the past and told me they can be produced for around $350 each versus the $1500+ in Vancouver (certainly a local agency charges at least an order of magnitude more). I’ve used offshore creative agencies to do work for me in the past. The work is always unbelievably cheap and the turnaround is appealing because if you’re using India or China there’s a 12-13 time shift. I give them a job near the end of my workday and it’s ready by the next morning – ideal! I’d also say the work is often of reasonable quality if your supplier speaks English very well.
I opted to hire a new offshore producer in Pakistan to do my two explainer videos at a total cost of $175 CDN. What a deal!
The problem I’ve found is that they don’t always understand everything you say, and even with the best-written instructions jobs just don’t make the grade. I had hired a Chinese freelancer to tweak a logo redesign for $15. “Astounding!” you might say, but it’s not what I wanted. They all say they are happy to redo the work and they will do so enthusiastically, but in the end, the task cannot compare to what I can get from an established agency in metro Vancouver who understands not only what I need but also what I don’t even know that I need.
Back to my ‘Made in Pakistan’ video production, the graphics were awesome, but I didn’t get the western flavor I needed. They did have a choice of narrators, and I had a sample voice to choose from. I got them very cheaply, but the process was so arduous that I didn’t send them back for an edit, I just accepted them as is and moved on. Every time my forgiving client plays them, I will forever think how the videos could have been better. My client thought they were ok, but I was disappointed.
There is another option – do it yourself! I’ve tried in the past to do my own Photoshop, and have even tried producing my own videos with green-screen and Adobe Premiere (high level editing software), but it always looked amateur.
In my search for perfection I found Moovly, a Vancouver-based tech (with 16 employees in Ghent, Belgium) company. Moovly is an online platform that allows users to explain their company in video using 1000’s of styles from animated cartoony to sophisticated real video and HD TV quality. The differentiator here is that Moovly is all-inclusive, meaning the platform has pretty much everything you need to create a complex video production quickly. CEO, Brendon Grunewald, says, “What makes Moovly unique is that it’s a one stop shop, with both the technology and libraries of digital assets to make the video, for example, if you want a picture, sound or a video clip of a New York street scene –we got it”.
Unlike the first Power Point –type presentation by Prezi about 14 years ago, Moovly moved away from the presentation style to allow users to create marketing communications materials so robust that already over 300 of the Fortune 500 companies use the Moovly platform and advertising agencies use it as opposed to bespoke videos for some of their clients.
Moovly is not in a race to dismiss the role of ad agencies, and as Grunewald says, “we are not competing with agencies, we are disrupting the production cost and process, so agencies can take the reduced cost of creating videos and pass that saving to their clients, or address a lower budget market, which they have traditionally not been able to serve”.
Moovly is certainly disruptive to the Adobe brand, including their Premiere video-editing suite, AfterEffects, and Flash. Moovly sees agencies as partners in the process. As long as agencies continue to provide their clients with a strong focus on the creative, including storyboards and concept, Moovly will be a valued partner to any campaign. By cutting out the extremely expensive side of production –editing, translating and adapting, agencies can expand their client base to include small and medium companies that may not have been able to afford agency services and provide them with highly engaging videos.
Up to now cheap tools have provided clients cheap quality. Moovly allows the client to build promotional, explanatory videos and presentations in-house that are up to the same quality as an agency production.
Moovly started three years ago with its focus being a tech company but with a revamp of the entire system in 2016 it has focused on the user side. By doing this, they created a vigorous asset-base of hundreds of thousands of styles, images and video clips.
When they started in 2013, Moovly had a strong but very simplistic editing suite for creating marketing videos. At the end of 2016 they had developed a platform that included content, third party distribution (e.g. single click publishing to social media), editing.
This combination of interoperability adds value to social giants like Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT), which are fighting to become the aggregation and distribution channels, but don’t yet have the content creation tools that Moovly has developed.
Grunewald gave me an example of an automated use of Moovly for a political party to develop a video marketing campaign based on grassroots interaction. Imagine the political party makes a professional short video with policies and a call to action. They go to the volunteer base and say you can contribute by cash, time or you can log into our website, make a short testimonial and upload your address book to our server (run through Moovly). Moovly will personalize the video to each person in the address book, add a bunch of metrics to the backend and attach the testimonial with the policy video made by the party and then send it out. The open rate has been recorded at 90%+.
You know what technology can do for any number of functions we take for granted, but watching this in action is mind blowing. People don’t want to read, they want video, and as Marshall McLuhan said in the 60’s, the medium is the message.
Moovly’s differentiators are huge. All the assets needed for a video production in one place, a dynamic mobile platform only they have, and television quality video output.
Moovly has the vision, leadership and the execution that is leaving the woefully small competition in their wake. They have raised over $5.5M since 2013 and at the end of 2016 their user base on the editor was >1 million. They have captured that million users with a free trial to learn the system with an ever increasing number of people signing up for the paid version from $9.95 / month. Inexpensive if you are a startup doing your own pitch decks and other marketing tools.
Moovly is currently closing a CDN $2.1M private placement investment round at the moment to further accelerate. From the looks of it they are in a strong position to be acquired although Grunewald will only acknowledge that possibility with a smile.
What Moovly does want is exposure to the market as the premier custom video production platform and get some more partners in reselling, content production, content distribution and application / platform integration.
In 2017, these guys are disrupting the market on their own terms.