As video continues its great migration from the television set to the Web and smartphones, advertisers face a new challenge: how to reach customers in three places at once. The so-called "three screens" (TV, PC, and wireless devices) require different ad strategies to engage audiences. The 'lean back' TV viewer's focus is watching programs, while the 'lean forward' PC or wireless user is multi-tasking: emailing, searching, phoning, and Web surfing.

So, is the third screen proving to be a vital new marketing channel?

The market for online video ads is certainly big. It will generate $768M this year in the US alone (Jupiter Research), and reach over $8B worldwide by 2012 (eMarketer).

And broadcasters are taking these developments very seriously. "We want new ad innovations we can introduce," says Albert Cheng, Disney-ABC Television Group Digital Media EVP, "so ad agencies are valuing what we're doing."

A case study for this trend is the recently introduced iPhone 3G that has attracted brands like Ford, Universal Pictures, Electronic Arts, and Land Rover. These companies' ad campaigns use AdMob, which calls itself the world's largest mobile advertising marketplace. AdMob has served nearly 250 million ads over the iPhone to users in the last year, with 51 million iPhone ads served in June alone.

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