With the popularity of YouTube, the ubiquity of fast broadband connections and the fact that many people are watching TV programming on their computers, it's clear that online video advertising is getting hot. One of the latest companies to emerge in this space is Adap.tv, a start-up based in San Mateo, Calif., founded by Amir Ashkenazi, the co-founder of Shopping.com (which was purchased by eBay in 2005).
On Monday, the company is launching its service, which analyzes the content of video clips and displays ads--text links on top of the video near the bottom--in real-time. For instance, a video of Oprah interviewing actor Will Smith can show a link to Smith's biography on Amazon.com when he talks about his book and shows a link to a Web site for his latest movie when he talks about his recent work. In addition to contextual targeting, the ads can "adapt" to the behavior of viewers, says Ashkenazi. Video site Metacafeis the company's first publisher partner and it will be using Adap.tv to show ads on video content in its travel and video games sections. Adap.tv has partnered with large ad networks like Amazon and Shopping.com.