Startup Watch: Eyeview Offers New Way Of Looking At Video Ads

Tech for Customized Video Spots Online, on Mobile and TV -- on the Cheap

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It's no secret that most of the biggest online video advertisers are simply finding another place to run their 15- and 30-second TV ads. They do this because there often is no budget for new online creative, and the online buy is just an extension of what they're already doing on TV.

But what if you could change those ads and make them interactive and customized -- on the cheap? That's the promise of Israeli startup Eyeview Digital, which, after more than three years in development, is starting to implement its technology for advertisers such as Johnson & Johnson and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Here's how it works: Eyeview's technology allows advertisers to customize video ads in real time, targeting different demographics and geographies with various creative. So for example, a retailer could customize for the weather, a movie studio for a local megaplex, a local auto dealer for different local markets.

Eyeview charges on a cost-per-thousand basis, a percentage of the total cost of the media buy (around 10%). CEO Oren Harnevo -- brother of Ran Harnevo, CEO of another video startup acquired by AOL, 5min -- says the technology works in online video, mobile and, theoretically, on TV, provided the video can be delivered over an IP network. So far the company has distribution deals with AOL (natch), AdapTV, TidalTV and Collective Media.

Mr. Harnevo said when he started developing the tech, he was most interested in merging his two career interests: computer science and film. "I always wanted to combine the two," he said. "The basis of technology is, how do we use computer science to make media better?" The ad application was the opportunity he saw in the marketplace.

Eyeview has raised $6 million over three years from Google exec chairman Eric Schmidt's investment vehicle Innovation Endeavors, as well as Lightspeed Partners and Gemini Israel Funds. The company has 15 developers in Israel and an office of several sales execs in New York.

Follow Michael Learmonth on Twitter.

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