Coincident TV's David Kaiser talks about Online Video, Serial Entrepreneurship and Privacy


David Kaiser is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Coincident TV, a software suite that allows content creators and distributors to design, manage and measure interactive video engagements across digital platforms. Kaiser is a serial entrepreneur behind seven startup companies, including RespondTV and Navisoft, and was also the first VP of engineering at Macromedia (acquired by Adobe).

Check out our interview with David below and connect with @coincident_tv on Twitter.

1. As experiences become more immersive in the social web, Coincident TV has created an interesting platform that intertwines content, social media, and ecommerce. Please tell me more about how the company came about and what your vision is.

I thought of the idea behind Coincident TV (CTV) in 2008 while at home watching the news with my laptop beside me. After a story caught my attention, I went online to look up more information but found myself frustrated with the disconnected experience. Although simple, it sparked the idea to build a technology that enables hypervideo, the merging of online video, social media, weblinks and commercial transactions.

My vision is to change the way we watch TV by transforming how we view and interact with online video. The goal of hypervideo is to create an interactive experience for the audience, enabling greater engagement between fans, programs, brands, businesses and content owners.

2. What would the ideal implementation of Coincident TV look like?

The great thing about Coincident TV is that it’s flexible and scalable, so the ideal implementation of CTV technology is whatever the author wants it to be. The software suite, both an editor and a player, enhances the video production and viewing experience. Whether it’s a content creator wanting to add real-time social media access to their video or a content producer looking to create revenue-building solutions through increased brand integration, the sequence and combinations of possibilities is only limited by what the author develops.

3. The Coincident TV executions I've seen on Fox.com for Glee and So You Think You Can Dance, and the demos on your Web site do not have the option to embed, which has become a key feature for YouTube, Vimeo and most video sites. Is embedding something that you have not decided to pursue or have clients not requested for it?

We are poised to jump into video embedding in a big way this Fall. While most technologies presently focus on sharing individual videos or pieces of content, Coincident TV will soon enable any video viewer to quickly and easily assemble entire video playlists and channels to share across the web. They’ll be able to use videos from YouTube, Blip TV, their own computers – literally any source. Users will also be able to add their own content links and other annotations into their content channels – without ever editing or even accessing any of the source videos. We see this as a quantum leap forward for embedding and we’re excited to launch the application.

4. What is your personal view about HTML 5 vs. Flash?

Flash is still the dominant and ubiquitous standard. And while our technology was originally conceived to work with Flash, we definitely understand the long-term potential of HTML5. And since CTV is based on a proprietary language, we were able to quickly adapt our software suite, both the editor and the player, to support HTML5. We see this as a huge competitive advantage for our platform: build one CTV file and it seamlessly works in Flash, HTML5, even Android.

5. What were some of the best lessons that you learned from working at Navisoft and Macromedia?

I learned the importance of surrounding yourself with a team as dedicated and passionate as you are. At both Navisoft and Macromedia, I worked with enthusiastic teams of technology professionals and our hard work paid off. AOL acquired Navisoft in 1994 and our technology became AOLPress and AOLServer. At Macromedia, we developed Director, the seminal PC animation application and precursor to Flash, and were later acquired by Adobe Systems in 2005.

6. What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur and how did you decide to become one?

While I have found it takes a number of things to find success as an entrepreneur, one key is having patience. It takes time to raise funding to get off the ground, and with any business, you don’t immediately start to see profits. It takes time and an investment. Although I didn’t start my career with the intention of becoming a serial entrepreneur, I discovered that I enjoy the challenge that comes with a startup that introduces new, exciting technologies, like CTV, to both businesses and consumers.

7. Is Silicon Valley still as essential for startups and tech companies or are cities like NYC becoming more attractive for talent, opportunities, and funding?

While Silicon Valley is still a hub for many startups and tech companies, the landscape is definitely starting to change and having a presence in other cities can be beneficial. While Coincident TV is headquartered in San Francisco, we also have offices in Los Angeles and New York. By having a presence in these cities, we feel we have an advantage as Hollywood and Madison Avenue are currently seeking new ways to monetize their content online and offer a more dynamic entertainment experience. We’ve been able to meet with studios and television executives and show them that Coincident TV can help them create an effective monetization model.

8. If you could bring web experiences to television sets, what would you do to ensure that people would find it appealing?

With Web television already available to consumers and new advances happening daily, Coincident TV wants to bring interactivity to these experiences.

Additionally, our technology can be applied to DVDs to create an experience similar to online video viewing. With CTV’s technology, DVD extras will have the ability to constantly be refreshed and can provide a unique experience
every time they are viewed, depending on the audience’s real-time interests and curiosity.

9. With the rise of Twitter and Foursquare, and the opening up of Facebook, social media continues to change the way we view privacy. Do you think "opening up" is essential for the evolution of the social web?

I think there has to be a balance. The evolution of the social Web is exciting because it is making everything more collaborative and engaging. People want to interact with each other and content online but not at the expense of their privacy. There has to be a happy medium where people feel safe sharing otherwise the advantages of the social Web will be negated.

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