Web Video Net Debuts

NEW YORK Lightningcast has launched its Internet video advertising network, hoping to attract more brand advertisers to run online spots on smaller Web sites.

Sites participating in the InStream network show about 100 million videos per month, according to Lightningcast. The network is running pre-roll ads on over 50 affiliates, from the Scripps Network newspaper sites to more niche-oriented destinations, like CelebrityGolf.com and MaxPreps.com.

Lightningcast provides video advertising platforms for large sites like AOL and MSNBC.com. It hopes to use that tech foothold to build an ad-sales network that will make it easier for brand advertisers to extend campaigns to niche properties.

“We think there’s a need for an aggregator,” said Aimee Irwin, vice president of marketing and operations. “We think our technology platform puts us at a unique advantage.”

Advertisers running initial campaigns on the InStream network include AOL, Capital One and Rolaids. InStream allows advertisers to choose categories of sites or specific destinations.

InStream competes with ad networks Broadband Enterprises and 24/7 Real Media. Startup Brightcove also plans to enter the market, and MSN has begun selling video ads for Associated Press Web sites.

“This is a huge and growing area, and there’s going to be a lot of entrants,” Irwin said.