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Video Site Blinkx Rolls Out Major Updates

Video search Web site Blinkx launched a new version of its Web site, putting content into channels that more closely match a TV-viewing experience.

The site has over six million hours of video content from several sources, including major news outlets such as CNN, BBC News, Reuters, and MSNBC. There are also “viral and garage” videos included from sites such as YouTube and Break.com.

The new redesign combines the “sit back and watch” element of traditional television with the interactive functionality of searching and watching video online.

Although they have yet to be confirmed, rumors have been buzzing that Microsoft has made a deal with Blinkx in which the video site would provide video-search functionality on Microsoft’s Live.com and MSN sites.

The most notable feature of the new Blinkx site is its customizable Video Walls capability, which automatically generates popular content channels but can be tweaked to user preferences with selected playlists to create personalized channels.

Users also can embed customized Video Walls into other Web sites, such blogs or MySpace pages, to share video footage with others.

The Blinkx redesign was undertaken to display video in a way that is both efficient and compelling, according to Suranga Chandratillake, founder and CTO of the site.

In a statement, he claimed that Blinkx transformed video search two years ago with advanced speech recognition and transcription technology rather than relying on standard metadata-based keyword searches.

Now, Chandratillake said, the company is focusing on how video is delivered rather than discovered. Chandratillake also said that video should be delivered visually instead of appearing as a text-based list of results.

The move to make video more searchable and create customized controls comes at a time when interest in online video is at an all-time high.

In the past, there has been a disconnect between the content creators—such as TV and movie studios—and the technology distributors, noted Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler. But with the popularity of sites like YouTube and some of the technological hurdles now removed, Internet users can look forward to an increasing focus on video content offered online.

“I think we’ll see more partnerships in the area,” said Schadler. “It’s advantageous for content producers to bring their products directly to consumers. For many people, that now means getting video online.”.