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LeanIn Launches, Attempts to Make Video-Viewing Social

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LeanIn is launching today, a service designed to bring crowd-wisdom and sharing to online video. LeanIn allows viewers to mark their favorite section of a video, add a comment that displays at a set place in the video, and share their favorite parts on Twitter or Facebook.

"The audience effectively turns into your sales force," says Luke Davies, LeanIn's president.

LeanIn offers three service levels. The free version only works with YouTube videos; viewers can indicate their favorite moments, but can't share or add comments. A $30 per month plan adds comments, sharing, and a custom logo. For $50 per month, customers can integrate with their own OVP and access the LeanIn API. Videos are shown in Flash, with an HTML5 fallback.

Strictly speaking, this is the 2.0 release for LeanIn. The 1.0 version wasn't public, however; it was only marketed to media companies and didn't find any takers. For the 2.0 version, the developers have changed how LeanIn works. Previously, it was an overlay on top of a video. Now, most of the controls sit below the video. One new feature is the ability to tap a bulls-eye-shaped button to like a moment in a video. This gives viewers a way to interact with LeanIn videos anonymously, an acknowledgment that most users won't want to register and create a profile.

Davies knows that few people will interact with the videos. He estimates that fewer than 10 percent of a site's visitors be interested, but says that even that few people sharing a clip can lead to big gains in viewership and ads displayed.

Those interested in trying LeanIn should take advantage of the 30-day free trial.

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