Embedding links and pop-up information into videos has been hailed as an upcoming technology revolution since at least 2005. So far hotspotting, or hypervideo, remains confidential. But some say it is due to explode this year. Ma

rketers will love this. As a video plays on the computer screen, the viewer clicks on characters and objects to obtain more information: what car model is she driving, where can I buy this suit, what is that skateboarding move called? In the case of movies and previews, the clickable information could include details about the character or a bio of the actor. Navigating a video like a Web page should come naturally to digital-age users. “Our research shows that 90% of people watching a video on their computer screen already use the mouse to point at objects,” says Ben Jones, sales director at VideoClix in Vancouver, British Columbia.   What you can do on VideoClix (click to enlarge) Launched back in 1999, the VideoClix software allows content creators to embed hotspots on which the viewer can click to access a variety of information. The package comes with a metrics module so that creators and marketers can monitor their audience’s behavior, views, clicks and conversion rates. Once the interactive video has been produced, it can be viewed on different media from the Internet to a DVD. Sony, Apple, Levis and Honda are using VideoClix. So are dozens of commercial producers, entertainment companies, advertising agencies and educators. “Sony BMG has a band called Jonas Brothers. They created a hypervideo to see which member of the band was most popular. They were actually surprised to find out who got the more clicks,” offers Jones as an example. He predicts that 2007 will be the year hypervideo explodes. “We are talking with all the major broadcasters right now. We are also talking to YouTube. If YouTube would use QuickTime and Flash, content creators could create 10-minute sitcoms and embed non-intrusive ads for a Krups coffee-maker or a Diesel shirt. Content creators could make money and viewers would not tune out as they now do with interruptive ads,” explains Jones. According to Jones, the competition is still trying to rally. “Microsoft is doing research, but they are still two or three years away from a product. There are service bureaus in Los Angeles who can do this for several thousand dollars a minute,” says Jones. By comparison, VideoClix is more affordable for end-users and professionals from a $49 Lite version to the full $4,995 package. Indeed, Microsoft’s adCenter Incubation Lab (adLab), the research center which has been working on Video HyperLink technology, might be a little closer than Jones believes. This month, the first ad showing off the technology went live on MSN Entertainment. In all honesty, the experience is more confusing and cumbersome than the demos shown on VideoClix’s site.   example with Lord of the Rings (click to enlarge) Meanwhile, a number of players in the marketing and advertising world have also developed their own hotspotting technologies. Check out Klipmart and Compulsion. Clickable videos are coming to a screen near you very soon. Isabelle Boucq for Atelier