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Online video ads get smarter and sharper

india Updated: May 31, 2009 23:31 IST
N Madhavan
N Madhavan
Hindustan Times
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The jury is still out on where the Internet is going in the business of publishing and broadcasting, because beyond Google’s famous search-based ad model, other forms of advertising are still finding their rhythm.

But, after a meeting with a young entrepreneur last week, I am quite sure that it is not a question of if, but of how and when other forms of Internet advertising take off in a big way. As social networking sites like Facebook and sites like YouTube make online videos an emerging challenge to television, and innovators are trying to make things work for everybody.

My meeting with Saurabh Bhatia, an IIT, Delhi graduate who turned an entrepreneur almost immediately after his graduation, showed me how. The 28-year-old with classmates now based in the Silicon Valley runs Indian operations for Vdopia Inc, a startup that has chosen to focus on video advertising.

I found it interesting that while global giants like Yahoo and Google are trying to crack the game, this firm with only 18 people, most of whom sit in Gurgaon, has filed for a patent for “dynamic skin branding with product placement” in video ads.

In this concept, the ad in a skin around a video changes according to the viewer, so that the advertiser can alter the ad in an automatic way based on who is watching the ad.

Vdopia offers comprehensive analytics based on interactive buttons for advertisers, who get to know details of who is responding. This enables better-focused, better targeted ads.

The firm offers this in addition to more accepted forms like overlays and rolls in online video content. Such innovations offers a look-and-feel that help advertisers sit up, while publishers get more revenues for the same video.

It is also cost-effective compared with expensive television commercials in which 30-second slots cost a bomb. “Recession has in a way helped us,” says Bhatia, pointing out that the economic downturn is aiding experimentation among advertising agencies and their clients.

With 3G videos set to happen sooner than later, I do believe that the phenomenon will grow in leaps and bounds.