Online Video Search: Web-TV Convergence?

Now that Google has formally joined AOL, Yahoo!, Blinxx and others in offering TV/video search, the time has come to speculate more seriously about Web-TV convergence.

As more and more video content (and related rich media advertising) goes online, will search engines and the Internet itself be an infinite fountain of TV and movies on demand? Indeed, the Web will likely become a viable alternative to TV, with an infinitely greater array of programming choices. The Internet is already cannibalizing TV viewing among young people in the U.S. Alternatively, cable providers are now seeking and will continue to seek consumer adoption of high-speed Internet access over TV monitors. (In a related vein, computer hardware makers are manufacturing TVs.)

Compared to some of the other providers of video search, the initial Google effort is relatively modest — it now consists of searching the text of television programs and offering still images related to those shows. It also involves partnerships with PBS, Fox, C-SPAN and ABC among others. Programs will be available the same day as their broadcast. However, ultimately, Google will offer full-length video. What that means is that Google will become much more literally like TV and like a broadcast advertising medium. However, the combination of search and rich media/video offers intriguing possibilities and directional wrinkles for advertisers.

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