Web-delivered video is hot right now, with a number of video start-ups having launched or received funding and with the iPod video making it the newest sexy thing to cover in the media.
The latest move comes from online video search service blinkx, which has debuted a service to port its Web search and delivery platform to portable media players such as the iPod video. Known as blinkx.tv To Go, it will allow users to search for video content and video blogs (or vlogs as they have recently been christened in Internet parlance buzz-wordage) and download them to portable media players.
The software boasts the ability to format the footage for a number of different devices and save certain search terms as €œchannels,€ which are updated automatically to mobile devices when they are connected to users’ computers.
For iPod users (who represent a majority of the portable media device market), a good question is, what does this offer that the iTunes music store doesn’t? The answer is that blinkx claims to index a wider range of content that includes, most notably, vlogs and the long-tail video content throughout the Web that the comparatively limited iTunes video library has thus far excluded in favor of licensed professionally produced shows such as "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost." iTunes monetizes licensed content by charging for downloads, while blinkx will likely integrate an ad-supported model that is more in line with its online strategy. Time will tell how it will do this on portable devices and if it has what it takes to survive an eventual shakeout in the online and mobile video space.
So how does this relate to local? Search in this case takes place online, and results are then downloaded to a mobile device. But looking out further this could integrate with mobile local search when blinkx or someone else develops the search process for the mobile device itself. There are, of course, hardware restrictions and other challenges here, but the pulling in of video (VOD) and the geotargeting opportunities with mobile devices could create a powerful combination for contextualized local advertising to be delivered alongside video content. There are lots of moving parts to such a scenario (hardware, software, content aggregation, ad distribution) that could take a while to coalesce, but the local implications are there.