Overlay TV could be for you

overlaytv-logo If you create videos for online use and would like to include context-relevant links in those videos to content elsewhere on the internet, today’s launch of Overlay.TV could be of interest to you.

You’ll also likely be interested if the same possibility applies to almost any existing video you can find on the net in places like YouTube.

What the new service from this Canadian start-up enables you to do is pretty powerful:

[…] The Overlay.TV platform enables video to stream from most of the popular video sharing sites like YouTube, Metacafe, MySpace, Google Video and Yahoo! Video; among others. Publishers can overlay pictures, words, graphics on top of video and link to products or information on external websites.

They can then share the enhanced video via email, their blogs, social networking profiles, personal websites and social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us and Digg. These capabilities allow the publishers to easily express themselves by putting their creative mark on the video. This also enhances the viewing experience for their friends and their network, without changing the integrity of the original video or interrupting the viewer’s experience.

As video streams from its original location, viewers are able to opt-in to view “overlays” or turn them off.

A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to see Overlay.TV demo’d by CEO Rob Lane, arranged by David Jones at Hill & Knowlton in Toronto.

I could see straightaway that this service would likely be of some interest to advertisers and marketers looking to monetize their content by linking elements within a video to the online presence of a company, a brand or other relevant aspect of the video content.


So a viewer would be able to satisfy a desire there and then to find out more about something that grabs their interest (a particular product, for instance) by clicking on an area in the video – the overlay that you the publisher created, be they images or words – as the screenshot above indicates.

As a viewer, you have control over whether you choose to have overlays enabled or not.

The beauty of it is that the original video content upon which you create and place overlays is untouched.

Overlay.TV offers deals for making money via affiliate relationships with earnings opportunities based on user click-throughs on the overlays.

The company says it already has arrangements with over 600 marketing affiliates who will accept click-throughs, including leading online retailers Amazon, Wal-Mart and iTunes.

Anyone can use Overlay.TV – this is not just about big brand marketers.

If you want to connect video to something somewhere on the web, this could be for you.

More on the Overlay.TV site and in today’s press release.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. 3p141

    Found your article while researching Google’s new AdSense for video service. I think the point you make that “this is not just about big brand marketers” is an important one. In fact, after looking into Overlay.tv, I think it will emerge as a major alternative for small to mid-sized businesses in addition to users/consumers wanting to spread the word on topics and products. As you say, it will be interesting to see how it develops.

    Something I haven’t been able to find out, though, is how the monetization will work. If I’m a kid who posts a video, overlays links to, say, a CD at Amazon, who gets the money? Does Overlay keep all the money? Or is it a share system with users? Perhaps you know. Any further info would be appreciated.

  2. Kevin Barwin


    Firstly let me tell you that I’m the Vice President -Business Development for Overlay.TV. In answer to your question about the revenue your second assumption is true. We do in fact share the revenue with the person who creates the overlay, that in this case links to Amazon. Hope this answers your question.

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