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Utarget first in the UK to sign video ad deal with blinkx

Utarget has become the first UK ad network to provide advertising on video search portal Blinkx.

The ad network will offer clients including Coke, Halifax, Shell and Smirnoff the chance to insert video ads into content on Blinkx.

Utarget becomes the first ad network to serve Blinkx’s UK market, although the portal - which floated in May with a value of £170m - already has deals with Eyeblaster and Miva in the US.

All advertising on Blinkx goes through its AdHoc system.  This sits between the ad networks and video content on the portal.

It uses Blinkx’s speech-to-text transcription and visual analytics technology to understand video content so that when a user clicks to view the content AdHoc selects the most appropriate advertising from partner advertising networks—keyword, banner or video based - and inserts it in, around or over the video.

Blinkx founder and CEO Suranga Chandratillake also announced a major strategy change for the company,moving it away from a showdown with Google Video in the video search market.

“It’s not our primary objective to be a destination portal,” he said.  “We want to use he site as a tool to power search for other established brands online.”

Chandtraillake pointed to the $300m (£147) that MSN spent trying to gain traction in the search market, only to lose market share, and the fact that Google began life powering search for AOL and Yahoo! before making the leap to become a consumer portal, as reasons for the change in strategy.

Blinkx has consistently billed itself as ‘the top destination for searching video on the web’ and in July announced it had indexed more than 14m hours of online video from partners as diverse as Reuters, Sky, Ministry of Sound, PBS, HBO, YouTube and