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Kaltura Acquires Rapt Media

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Kaltura Acquires Rapt Media
    

By: -
29 May 2018
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In a move that adds an innovative content creation tool to its suite of offerings, streaming platform vendor Kaltura late last week said it has acquired Boulder, Colo-based Rapt Media.

Rapt Media sells tools that enable viewers to follow their own video storyline based on selections presented to them at the end of a video clip. For instance, an instructor can publish a single video that introduces a student to an interactive classroom. At the end of the video, viewers can select from options offering different video clips to “novice” or “expert” users.

Rapt features a publishing tool with a graphical user interface that allows publishers to create viewing options in the same way they would link branches of a workflow chart. As a result, viewers are presented content where they can choose the videos presented next based on responses they provide to on-screen prompts.

The goal is to provide organizations with tools that can be used to offer tailored viewing experiences that enhance video’s role in employee training and other corporate communications applications, said Michal Tsur, Kaltura’s co-founder, president and general manager of the company’s unit focusing on the enterprise and learning markets.

“This gives us a good foot in the door with customers that are looking to amplify the level of video engagement,” Tsur said in a briefing with WR analysts. “The ultimate personalization is that you can choose what you want to watch.”

Rapt Media is one of a growing set of start-ups focusing on the development of tools designed to boost the interactivity of video content. Competitors such as Hapyak Interactive Video and Wirewax, for instance, both offer tools that create clickable hotspots on videos and build “branchable” video narratives where content is presented based on a viewer’s responses to on-screen prompts.

Kaltura’s acquisition of Rapt introduces a new approach to an evolving market where most providers of interactive video services have pitched themselves as stand-alone solutions that can work with a range of different video content.  From a user perspective, the Rapt approach to branchable video narratives is emulating what we’ve seen in the concept of adaptive learning: software programs that branch based on user responses.  Often such programs include AI-driven choices that address what a learner is ready for.  In Rapt’s case, the use case differs, and more choice is placed into the user’s hands – but the general similarity is intriguing: more interactivity.

While Rapt theoretically will still be suitable to use with other streaming platforms, the Kaltura acquisition suggests that each of these interactive video providers may be better suited to serve as a subset of a full-featured streaming video platform rather than sold as its own stand-alone video solution to be employed across a series of platforms.

While Rapt was founded in 2011, we think it is still “early days” in the development of the market for “interactive video tools.” We believe that the alliance with Kaltura will make it more difficult for Rapt to win partnerships with other streaming platform providers. In short, the acquisition hitches Rapt to the Kaltura wagon.

Most other enterprise streaming platforms have yet to integrate any type of interactive video capabilities. So, Kaltura will have some differentiation off the bat. If Kaltura experiences success with its interactive video option, it would not be surprising to see other platform providers rush to integrate with rival providers of interactive video features.

It is too soon to predict whether Kaltura’s deal will spark that type of competitive response in the enterprise streaming market. Nevertheless, any tools that add a little creativity to the video development process will help the market overall. Kaltura’s acquisition, at the very least, draws more attention to the role of video interactivity and helps us to think about fresh ways to use video in the business environment.