Online video technology firm blinkx has developed an integrated advertising system it hopes will help generate revenues from the growing amount of video on the web.
Internet users are increasingly using their connections to watch videos. Research house comScore reckons four out of every five British web users watch online video regularly, with well over 3bn videos viewed each month.
But the revenues being generated are minuscule compared with online search or display advertising. Forrester Research predicts the global online video advertising market will reach $7.2bn (£4.9bn) by 2012, but by then, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates, the online advertising market will be worth $120bn.
Although viewers are switching from the TV to the computer, advertisers are finding it hard to follow. Until now, most online video advertising has consisted of a short advert before or after the video.
blinkx, which was spun off from Cambridge-based data organisation experts Autonomy last year, has developed what it calls its "un-roll" unit, which allows advertisers to wrap their message into videos. Instead of a lengthy pre-roll, the system creates the digital equivalent of opening cinema curtains - emblazoned with the sponsor's logo - and then launches straight into the video. Adverts or click-through tabs are then inserted in specific parts of the content and the video ends with a clear "call to action" such as a click-through to the advertiser's website.
Shell has already completed an "un-roll" campaign on blinkx, through its agency MediaCom, which received more than 6m impressions.