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Bristol start-up helps Band Aid 20

Press release issued: 21 December 2004

Technology developed by a company based at the University is helping this year's charity chart-topper raise money to combat famine.

Technology developed by a company based at the University of Bristol is helping this year's charity chart-topper raise money to combat famine. 

Coull, which is using the University's SETsquared facilities to help new businesses in the region, says it has turned the video for Band Aid 20's Do They Know It's Christmas? into the "world's first truly interactive video".

The company has embedded hyperlinks into the online video which give those watching it the chance to donate direct or find out more about the artist singing.

Irfon Watkins, chief executive of the company, said: "We have created links from each of the artists to enable people when they click on an artist, to go and download the single and contribute to the charity or go off to the Live Aid website to contribute to charity.

"It also entertains and educates in terms of when you move the mouse over one of the artists, whether Bono or Chris Martin of Coldplay, it tells you who it is and what lyrics they are singing."

Coull says this is the first time its technology will have been so widely viewed.

Although the company has already announced a link-up with Universal Music that will see it provide a similar service for artists including Girls Aloud, that video will not be released until next week while the Band Aid 20 single is already out with the interactive video, a site developed by fellow Bristol company Hyperlaunch, in Hotwells.

The involvement with the Band Aid 20s single came as a result of the link with Universal.

Do They Know It's Christmas? is raising money to combat famine in Africa, and features stars including Keane, Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, Dido, Jamelia, Chris Martin, Ms Dynamite, Natasha Bedingfield, Joss Stone and Bono.

Mr Watkins said: "This is the world's first truly interactive video, using the latest technology to bring footage to life in a way that consumers have never experienced before.

"The aim is to bring video to life and offer an educational experience as well as an informative and entertaining one."

Coull has developed and is hosting and managing the interactive video free of charge, and says the interactivity also enables Coull to track the number of views and click-throughs. "Band Aid will know exactly how many people have viewed the video, and out of them how many clicked through to the download site," said Watkins.

"This gives them a very clear picture of how much money was raised through the online streaming of the video."

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