InfoSpace Gets Hip to Online Video
InfoSpace-owned Dogpile announced today that it will partner with video search site Blinkx. Blinkx will bring enhanced video search capabilities to Dogpile and other InfoSpace metasearch properties, including WebCrawler and Webfetch.
Blinkx has indexed more than 6 million hours of video and audio content, as CEO Suranga Chandratillake explained when we spoke to him last year (see TKG White Paper “From Reach to Targeting: The Transformation of TV in the Internet Age”) the company employs speech recognition technology to more accurately glean the subject matter of video content and index it accordingly.
This addresses a core problem of video search in that it isn’t inherently searchable (in the way text is). Other less effective ways of indexing video content used by some video search engines is to search the meta tags created with the content, or in some cases the closed captioning data that accompanies some video. Other innovative video search technologies have been formed by AOL-owned Truveo. You can read our past postings on Blinkx and Truveo (both companies sat on an online video panel at Drilling Down on Local ’06); and Search Engine Watch did a roundup of video search sites earlier in the week.
Elsewhere in the online video world, YouTube made its first major content acquisition deal with the NHL to create a hockey channel on the video sharing site. And TiVo opened up online video possibilities this week by announcing that it will bundle software in its set-top boxes that pulls video content from the Web to be viewed on the television. This, like Apple’s iTV, will accelerate the adoption of online video as it is able to be viewed in “lean back” mode and on larger screens. This adoption will, in turn, spur more quality and longer form content for online video (also helped by higher broadband rollouts and legal and content arrangements moving forward), and around and around we go.
The move by TiVo is especially smart because it leverages an existing installed base and connectedness to television sets, to drive a value-added feature for marketing and customer retention.
Lastly, Search Engine Journal reports on Google’s apparent efforts to monetize online video a perennial challenge. As we’ve stated many times (including Monday), we are in a wild west phase of experimentation with online video and its monetization. There are lots of advertising possibilities, and users’ preferences are being tested throughout the marketplace. Google now is experimenting with pre-roll ads in video clips including the popular Coke and Mentos viral video.
This will be an interesting area to watch unfold and there is still a great deal of experimentation to be done. There is evidence, for example, that users largely don’t like pre-roll ads, and that accompanying text ads have more appeal. Other options will include product placement. Time, and technology development, will tell what advertising method wins out. We’ll likely end up with a combination of all these and more that are developed. As Google has done with text ads, this will also eventually proliferate a volume of ad inventory that creates a ‘long tail” effect, which will allow local ads to play a key role in online video. More on that concept here. Keep watching.