Blinkx Keeps On Keepin’ On
Video Search engine Blinkx has announced five ad deals in recent weeks, along with other new initiatives. Blinkx reminds me of the old New Riders of The Purple Sage song, “Keep on Keepin’ on.” Despite mounting competition from both bigger rivals like Yahoo, Google, AOL, and new start-ups, Blinkx just “keeps keepin’ on”.
Blinkx has signed online advertising deals with three TV programmers, including the creator of the popular children’s TV show Barney And Friends. The revenue-sharing deals are with HIT Entertainment, Channel 5 Broadcasting in London, and Cheflive. They involve displaying contextual ads with online video that will be searchable and viewable on Blinkx. In addition, Blinkx signed similar ad deals with web sites Kitchen Caravan and Savory Cities. HIT Entertainment offers TV programming in more than 240 countries. Along with Barney the purple dinosaur, HIT also produces Bob The Builder, Thomas And Friends, and Fraggle Rock.
Blinkx’s deal with Channel 5 is to display ads on highlights from 5 News. The search engine has the same ad arrangement with Las Vegas-based Cheflive, which features cooking tips and tricks from chefs working in the gambling city. Kitchen Caravan features an online cooking show that highlights foods from around the world, while Savory Cities is an online video restaurant guide featuring profiles on top restaurants in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle.
I had a chance to interview Blinkx co-founder Suranga Chandratillake. He notes that Blinkx has hosted content from day one and that video search remains the central focus. Blinkx describes itself as the largest video search engine, with 18 million hours of indexed online video and audio content. They use advanced speech-recognition technology to analyze videos and claim to deliver search results that are more accurate than standard metadata-based keyword searches. Blinkx is powered by Autonomy’s Idol software, which indexes words and images within video, as well as associated tags.
Blinkx has leveraged their technology to launch AdHoc, a contextual video advertising platform that places contextually-relevant, clickable text ads in a bar above the web video being watched. The ability to place relevant ads utilizes the company’s powerful speech to text translation technology to create an on-the–fly transcript and to then match relevant ads to the words. Ads appear as words are spoken. Suranga believes this technology is superior to competitors who just look at tags and surrounding text to classify a video. While Blinkx utilizes those techniques as well, the AdHoc system even allows Blinkx to match ads to related concepts extracted from the video, not just to the words alone.
Blinkx has also announced the availability of Blinkx BBTV. Leveraging Blinkx’s speech recognition technology, BBTV automatically creates a speech track of the video, allowing users to search through content, literally word-for-word, and jump to specific points in a program, simply by searching for a spoken word.
The service launched with a library of premium independent films and a variety of programming from existing partners. BBTV is a small download (0.5 MB) that is available free of charge at www.blinkx.com. It features hybrid peer-to-peer streaming and a point-and-click channel interface. BBTV enables users to instantly browse or interact with online sources related to what they are watching, whether it’s Google, Wikipedia, IMDB, or other web sites offering relevant information. Users can “shift-click” on a word in the speech track for additional information on a person, location, or object within the video.
Suranga says that “broadband Internet connections are fast enough today that with the right technology, it’s possible to deliver an experience that’s equal in quality to television.” He adds that “the Web is the largest repository of connected information in the world – on any subject and from myriad sources. BBTV delivers television over the Internet, but it also fuses that TV with the wealth of information on the Web, rather than appearing as just another layer floating above it.”
With AdHoc, BBTV, and some major programming deals, Blinkx surely continues to “keep on keepin’ on.”
Bob Heyman is the Chief Search Officer at Mediasmith in San Francisco, and coined the terms “Audience Development” for building traffic to websites and “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO). The Video Search column appears on Thursdays at Search Engine Land.
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