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Interactive music video from Bristol-based company

Press release issued: 10 November 2004

Universal Music is pioneering the latest technology from a company based at SETsquared at the University of Bristol to allow music fans to interact instantly with videos of their favourite bands.

Fans of leading bands including Girls Aloud, Busted and Razorlight will soon be able to interact instantly with the video of their favourite artist, enabling them to purchase memorabilia or book a concert ticket.  As part of its strategy to digitise its video assets, Universal Music is pioneering the latest technology from Coull, a company based at SETsquared at the University of Bristol. 

This technology enables video assets to be converted into revenue-generating portals.  This is achieved by creating interactive areas of the screen/video image linked to revenue generating web sites, textual information, other videos and more.

Rob Wells, Director of New Media at Universal Music said: “The web is becoming what it was intended to be: a place for a rich multimedia experience, a provider of revenue generating interactivity for content owners.  Fans are very familiar with hyperlinks. Using Coull click to revenue(tm)we can now give them the same kind of interaction in a video programme, which is a major breakthrough.  Watching a Girls Aloud video, they can now click for example on Kimberley's skirt and buy a replica, or immediately access details of the Girls' next tour.  Not only is this fun, the technology also allows us to generate revenues direct from video streams."

Irfon Watkins, CEO of Coull said: "With more homes connected via broadband, we’re beginning to experience real demand for visually rich content.  Younger generations of consumers now expect engaging, interactive experiences on devices on their phones and in their homes and cars.  Music labels, film companies and other content owners can now meet these needs and take the opportunity to make money from their assets.”

Coull offers content owners unique visual enhancing methods of engaging with their customers through coull click to revenue™software. Rich-media content such as video that was originally created for normal TV viewing can easily be transformed into a high-impact, interactive, revenue generating portal which is delivered to the viewer using industry standard streaming technologies such as Microsoft Windows Media Player and Real.

Coull have developed a method of tracking and segmenting video objects creating hyperlinked video. The author of the video uses a computer mouse to scribble roughly on each desired object in a frame of video. These masks label every pixel in every frame of the video as belonging to one of the regions roughly sketched out by the author at the beginning of the process. The author may then associate each region with a particular action.  During playback, the viewer can select objects with a mouse or an analogous device, such as an enhanced TV remote control with point-and-click capability.

Coull is based in SETsquared at the University of Bristol.  SETsquared helps people with technology ideas through the very early stages of commercialisation.  It is a joint venture between the research-led universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey and is part of the largest university enterprise partnership in the UK.
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