Joost launches commercial widgets. Coke, anyone?

Video start-up already has high-profile ad contracts; now, it's turning them into widgets that aim to contribute to the interactive TV experience and spread brand buzz.

Online video start-up Joost, which focuses on ad-supported professional content, made a few headlines (and raised a few eyebrows) for inking some big advertising deals with major corporations before the downloadable software was even open to the public. Until this point, most of those advertisements were traditional video advertisements that popped up before and in between clips on Joost.

That's no longer the case. On Thursday, Joost announced that Coca-Cola's European division has created the first "commercial widget" for the software. Called "Coke Bubbles," the downloadable advertising widget lets you choose a clip on Joost and then send it to fellow Joost users, appended with a note in the form of a "bubble."

So, in essence, it's a bit like those Pop-Up Video shows that VH-1 did back in the '90s, except not quite as customizable.

Social media advertising is still an extremely young sector of the industry, and plenty of observers are wondering whether it will actually work; many agree, however, that some element of interactivity needs to be present to bring the experience beyond a banner or video ad that will likely be ignored.

But according to Joost, widgets on the software will go beyond advertising. Coca-Cola has also partnered with Joost on an initiative to help more developers create applications for the video software; Joost will be holding "Developer Days" events in London on Friay, in Amsterdam on December 1, and in New York on December 7. (In London? The event will run from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. GMT, at Wallacespace on 2 Dryden Street.)

Joost has also partnered with instant-messaging start-up Meebo to power chat operations among viewers.

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