In a move to improve its viral video service, YouTube just snapped up Directr. As you might guess by its name, the company is in the mobile video editing business. Directr offers an iOS app that tries to make it simple for Apple device users to shoot and edit short videos.
Although it will serve the needs of some video creators, the Google-owned company seems to be more interested in attracting paying advertisers to the platform through this acquisition. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the company had previously raised $1.7 million from Boston Seed Capital, Advancit Capital and Nextview Ventures, along with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and other angel investors.
“Directr is joining the YouTube ads team, where they’ll help us make it easier for advertisers to create and upload awesome videos,” YouTube said in a Google+ post. “Besides making the existing Directr app free on iOS, we aren’t making any immediate changes. Stay tuned for more info.”
Point and Shoot Movies
Founded by Max Goldman and Eli Schleifer, Directr’s vision is to make movies as simple as pictures. The company calls it “point-and-shoot moviemaking.” The technology offers ideas for storyboarding videos, takes you “step by step and scene by scene” through the video editing process, and offers various tools, including music and titles.
The app is free but there was a cost for users who wanted to do more than one simple movie a month or tap into any of the advanced features. For example, a $25 monthly plan would get you a professional feedback session and custom branding. Plans ran all the way up to $400 a month. With the YouTube acquisition, Directr will be free for everyone.
“Our small band of scrappy film lovers set out 2 years ago to help regular folks make great video. Today, we are incredibly excited to take the next step on that journey and announce that we are joining the video ads team at YouTube,” the Directr team said in a blog post. “For now, everything you love about Directr is staying the same and we’ll continue to focus on helping businesses create great video quickly and easily. One immediate bonus: Directr will soon be all free, all the time. Thanks, YouTube!”
More Professional Video
YouTube’s move comes just weeks after Facebook grabbed video ad business LiveRail for an undisclosed sum and is another sign that the market is heating up.
According to market research firm eMarketer, digital video ad spending grew 44.5 percent to over $4.1 billion in 2013 and the firm expects that number to swell to $5.8 billion in 2014. Looking ahead to 2018, eMarketer predicts that figure could rise to $12 billion.
We caught up with Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, to get his take on YouTube’s latest acquisition. He told us this is one more tool for content creators and advertisers on YouTube.
“Google is trying to help aspiring small businesses and others generate better-looking and more professional video. This is consistent with that aim,” Sterling said. “As video and video ads become increasingly important online and on mobile devices this can help a broader array of smaller advertisers do a better job of self-service ad creation.”