Tongal has raised $15 million for its video content and social platform, which rewards people for making video advertisements for consumer brands. With the investment, which was led by Insight Venture Partners, Tongal plans to build out its global creative community.
Tongal, founded in 2008 and based out of Los Angeles, has developed what could be described as a gamification and social platform for developing online video campaigns for brands. People who want to compete go through a process from idea to final selection. The winners receive cash prizes for their work.
CoFounder James DeJulio said that the process starts with an idea, which requires no technical background to submit. Anyone with a good idea can submit it to their web site, like Twitter, in 140 characters or less. The sponsor selects ideas and from there people with video skills do the creative work. People whose ideas get selected can make $250 to $1,000. If the video gets selected, the person who submitted the idea gets a 5 percent bonus/residual payment. People who make the videos can earn $1,000 to $25,000.
From the Tongal web site:
Most Tongal projects are broken down into multiple phases, for example, Ideation, Production and Distribution. That means writers, directors, actors, and animators can all focus on what they do best. To make it even better, everyone can also get paid to promote winning videos, predict awarded spots and discover new talent.
The market for fresh video continues to increase, as the number of channels for content also increases. The web, mobile and the emergence of Internet TV all make for new ways that advertisers can reach different markets.
DeJulio said social media compresses the shelf life of video. Traditional methods for creating video content is slow, expensive and not built to scale across web, mobile, and other channels including TV. Also, making ads for TV and putting them online has proven ineffective. Tongal allows for anyone to compte to make ads. They don’t have to be part of an elite Madison Avenue or Hollywood group. They can work from home with tools that are ever cheaper and produce superior quality on par with what the traditional giants use. As it is collaborative, sponsors are part of the process of making the videos with people who follow the brand. Sponsors will make several posts to their Facebook/Twitter followings during the idea round. So in some sense the process gives its consumers a different, if not inside, look that they have no had before.
Tongal represents how the advertising world has changed. No longer is it an elite group that gets to produce the creative work that the advertising community creates for the world’s largest brands. It’s creative professionals from all walks of life who do the work. In the process, brands can become more a part of the online culture, which is unique in its own way.
Tongal says it often gets grouped in the same market as companies, such as Poptent and Zooppa.
But it really is part of a bigger trend. Business is becoming more efficient by using the Internet to reach people who can do the work from wherever they may be. That puts Tongal in a different category — more with the likes of Zirtual, which matches people with virtual assistants who help them with their daily tasks.