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blinkx Searches Dow Jones Video

Video search specialist blinkx teamed up Wednesday with Dow Jones to make financial news videos available from Dow Jones properties like The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and MarketWatch via blinkx and its customer Lycos.

While most of the content on the Wall Street Journal Online as well as Barron’s Online is available by paid subscription only, the video content is freely searchable.

“They have recently increased the amount of video content they have available,” said Suranga Chandratillake, chief technology officer at San Francisco-based blinkx. “Most of their sites are locked down behind a subscription wall, but the video content is free. They give people who haven’t subscribed a sense of how deep a source they have.”

By making the video content more searchable with blinkx’s technology, Dow will be able to expose its financial content to a wider audience. Dow Jones has been facing increased pressure from financial news portals such as Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, CNBC, and even AOL that have been increasing their offerings (see Yahoo Offers Finance Blogs and CNBC.com Scores in Return).

Some of the videos will be hard news about what companies are doing and stories about the markets. Other videos will be slightly longer features that look at entire industries, just like articles in the newspapers themselves.

Dow Jones Online has been working since September on integrating video across its web sites with the help of Brightcove, an Internet TV service based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The two companies launched a Dow Jones video player in November.

The videos are also available via RSS (really simple syndication) and Atom feeds, and Dow podcasts are available via Apple Computer’s Tunes that will also be accessible for free by blinkx.

“We have a pretty comprehensive offering of original content from WallStreetJournal.com, MarketWatch, and Barrons, and we’ve been working with Brightcove on providing the technology for a multimedia experience on all three of those web sites,” said Bob Leverone, vice president of television at Dow Jones Online.

Reviving Newspapers Online

Dow Jones has also been working on enlisting the entire news staff on developing original video content.

“I’ve often felt that the Dow Jones properties have been relatively unexploited in that area,” said Mr. Leverone. “The reporters are doing investigative stories and stories about companies, and it’s an opportunity for the public at large to get to know these reporters better.”

Other content will include interviews, on-location coverage, and footage of conferences such as those run by Barron’s, which are normally only open to paying professionals and guests.

“It’s a very interesting area in general because lots of people are quick to say newspapers are dead or dying or relics from yesteryear,” said Mr. Chandratillake. “In some ways it’s true that newspapers have to change a lot from the way they look today, but this deal highlights what newspapers do best and what makes them unique.”

He sees particular advantages in Dow Jones’ resources, especially as the New York-based financial media giant expands its efforts online.

“They have the best experts with great access to some of the most interesting people in the world of business,” he added. “They have the knowledge that the press has about what’s interesting, what’s not interesting, and they are doing it thoroughly, experimenting now with different ways of capturing or encoding that core essence, recording it on video and doing it online.”

Mr. Chandratillake said there’s no financial aspect to the deal in terms of one company paying the other to search the content. He was also unsure of the amount of any split in ad revenue, and Mr. Leverone did not provide specifics either.

But Mr. Chandratillake believes both companies will be able to benefit from the deal in being able to showcase the financial content.

Expanding Search to Other Customers

Some of blinkx’s customers such as Lycos, which uses blinkx for video search, will start featuring the video from Dow Jones (see blinkx Finds Videos for Lycos). “A number of our users and partners are interested in that kind of content, and it benefits them to have more traffic,” said Mr. Chandratillake.

Microsoft also has a deal to use blinkx’s video search capabilities in its MSN and Windows Live Search engines, but it’s not yet clear if the Redmond giant will offer the Dow Jones news video search as well (see blinkx Builds Video Wall). Microsoft has yet to integrate the blinkx technology.

“We have a deal with them, but the timing of how it gets developed and where it gets developed depends on Microsoft,” said Mr. Chandratillake. “It’s up to them to decide how it’s going to get integrated.”
Blinkx also has a deal with AOL’s student-oriented portal StudyBuddy.com, but Mr. Chandratillake does not expect to see the Dow Jones videos show up there.

Blinkx licenses some video search technology from Mr. Chandratillake’s former employer Autonomy, which Autonomy acquired when it bought Virage for about $25 million in July 2003.

Mr. Leverone noted that MarketWatch had a track record of producing web videos, and when Dow Jones acquired MarketWatch, the company also bought that expertise and brought it to some of the company’s other sites.

“We’ve been very happy with the reception that the public has given,” he said. “The traffic has increased from what MarketWatch was doing standalone.

“The goal is to add that extra dimension to the stories being written in the newspapers and online,” he added. “We really prefer to work closely with the reporters and the editors here to make video part of the coverage. What traditional newspapers did with photos, now we’re doing with videos.”

Dow Jones is seeking other companies to work with to expand its reach aside from Brightcove on the syndication side and blinkx on the search side. “Right now we’ve just entered this arrangement, but the key thing for us is just to ensure enhanced distribution,” said Mr. Leverone. “There are other larger players we’re talking to.”

Blinkx has been signing more deals as well. The company announced a deal Tuesday with Bandwagon, a music community site, for distributing and searching music videos, and on Monday with VMIX, a user-generated content site, for indexing and searching the site’s videos.