Neon developed technology that automatically selects the best frame in a video to become a thumbnail. That's important, because online video viewership is booming.
Market researcher GfK said last month that more than half of those ages 13 to 54, the core TV viewing population in
"Images are a great way to draw people into the story, whether it's a video or other content, and thumbnails will change the number of people that click to view that content -- so the image you use for a thumbnail is incredibly powerful," Lebrecht said.
To determine what people are likely to watch, researchers in
"It's exciting to have the opportunity to invest in a product that is grounded in hard science and can have such a tremendous impact on the media marketplace," said
Initial test results show that a thumbnail chosen by Neon significantly increased clicks, compared to one selected by a Web designer, Lebrecht said. Against a randomly generated thumbnail -- the way most video platforms select thumbnails -- Neon increased the clicks even more, Lebrecht said, although she declined to say how much.
Early on, YouTube and other websites focused on establishing a presence and building their capabilities, Lebrecht said. As video use grew, media publishers tried to maximize viewers.
"Each video has thousands of frames, and with video growing so rapidly, it will be hard for humans to process all of that," she said.
Neon's automated technique is one of the first to use cognitive and brain sciences. The underlying technology is co-owned by
"Publishers will have the option to choose amongst Neon's recommended thumbnails, or Neon will simply select one that is predicted to drive click-through rates," Lebrecht said. "Seeing an image generates an emotional response that determines -- click or no click."
Tarr said algorithms used in Neon's software are based on behavioral data obtained from surveys of hundreds of people and proprietary computer analyses of video streams.
"That's our secret sauce, using machine learning techniques," he said. "It's how
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