Overlay.TV, a startup that lets users augment streaming videos with customized text, audio, images, and links, has launched to the public. The service overlays videos from a number of video sharing sites with a new layer containing this customized content, which can be used for entertainment purposes or as an easy (and potentially effective) means of monetizing video.
To use Overlay.TV, you first give the site the source URL of the video you’d like to modify. Overlay then streams this video from the original host (the site doesn’t host any video content, so it shouldn’t have to worry about the copyright violations that plague sites like YouTube). After loading the video, users are free to add their own content as part of a new layer with options that include text, links, custom images, and clip art. The site includes some basic timeline functionality, so you can set specific times for each item to fade in or out, but it can be hard to finetune the position and timing of each element.
Perhaps the most enticing feature offered by Overlay.TV is its integration with a number of web affiliates. Users can include links to a large number of products, garnering a 50% rev share that is split with Overlay. This effectively allows users to monetize their videos, choosing exactly where and when they’d like their ads to appear, without having to deal with pre/post rolls or other ad options. Of course, the system also allows users to embed and monetize videos that they haven’t created, but Overlay founder Rob Lane says that the company has been working with video sites like YouTube and have had no Terms of Service issues.
You can see a quick example of what can be done with Overlay.TV below: