In a little less than two minutes, the video for French clothier Petit Bateau shows how a dress comes together: The fabric is chosen, the dyes mixed, the dress appears. A model sports the finished product.
But the process does not stop there. A viewer can touch the image, tagging the dress. Any tagged items are stored in a queue in the lower right corner of the screen, ready to be accessed when the video is complete, leading the viewer to a digital store to buy the dress.
The technology behind the video is not new, but Kyle Heller and Randy Ross, co-founders of Culver City’s Cinematique, the company that made the Petit Bateau video “shoppable,” have found a way to develop a seamless experience. Unlike other applications of the technology, Cinematique’s program does not immediately navigate shoppers away from the video to the digital store but let’s them continue browsing.
Ross and Heller’s two-year-old business has already signed contracts with 200 clients, among them Gap, Jimmy Choo, Temperley London and luxury e-commerce site Net-a-Porter.
Now they have their eyes on the big screen. Heller and Ross are talking with major movie studios interested in adapting its technology for film.
“We’re very conscious of having a concise, short-term plan to look at fashion-branded content and the fashion space,” said Ross, the chief executive. “But we have plans to expand to both feature film and the episodic and a whole bunch of other places where people place their business on video.”
Though no deals have been signed yet, the Cinematique technology would allow small-screen viewers to touch an actor, for instance, and link to a site like IMDb for more information. The company would charge a flat fee based on the amount of usage the service generates.
The idea, said Heller, is to keep viewers, whether they are shopping or being entertained, engaged and not distracted.
“We’re seeing consumers disengage within content,” he said. “Our platform provides the ability to stay engaged and get that info at their fingertips, but when they want it, so they’re no longer leaving (the video).”
That is the value Heller hopes will appeal to the film industry.
“Randy and I are filmmakers at heart,” he said. “We feel like the exploration and the information component to this platform is what makes it unique and gives it legs to really evolve storytelling in cinema.”
Cinematique expects to announce its first entertainment deals in the fall.