Mickey Will Scour Your Inner Thoughts As Disney Invests In Mind Reading Technology

Could you imagine an Internet without videos? We'd miss out on Batdad's hilarious antics, Kimbo Slice would have never gotten a shot to fight professionally, and Justin Bieber wouldn't be a mega star. Come to think it, maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all, though that's getting off topic. Videos are a major part of the Internet experience, though us mere mortals are easily distracted, much to the chagrin of advertisers. Disney is looking to change that.

Through Disney's Accelerator program, the company along with a couple of venture capital firms are investing in a startup called FEM Inc. You've probably never heard of FEM, though one day you might -- it consists of former Google employees and a Caltech neuro-economist, who together created the Prizma video platform.

If we could read your mind, we'd probably discover that you're thinking, "What the flip is the Prizma video platform, and why should I care?" Of course, we can't read your mind, though that's what Prizma aims to do. It uses brain science to select videos that viewers are more likely to watch in their entirely, distractions be damned.

The team behind Prizma says that nearly a third (30 percent) of viewers that watch a video on their platform return within a week to watch more videos. That's the sort of thing that gets the attention of webmasters and advertisers, along with companies like Disney, who along with Javelin Venture Partners and MESA Venture, invested $3 million into the FEM Inc.

That's much more than most startups get through Disney's Accelerator program, which is a "highly selective, immersive mentorship and investment program for technology-enabled startups in the media and entertainment space." Those selected receive $150,000 in investment capital and, equally important, access to resources, relationships, and characters from across The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Animation, Lucasfilm, Marvel, ESPN, ABC, and several others.

Online Video

The Prizma platform consists of a small JavaScript embed (less than 5KB) that loads asynchronously on a customer's website. Once loaded, it learns about the site's pages and viewing habits and preferences of visitors.

"Our recommendation engine, built on patented technology, uses signals from a user's context to determine the best content to surface," the Prizma team explains. "These signals, which we call 'motivations', help us determine the user's goals: are they long term or short term? Are they concerned with helping others or themselves? Are they here to have fun or to be productive? Prizma matches such motivations against a proprietary data layer to curate the best videos for a specific user's context."

This is the future of the Internet, folks, and we're just hamsters along for the ride.