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blinkx launches platform to carry video advertising

Video search engine Blinkx is attempting to cash in on the millions of hours of broadcast content on the web by launching AdHoc, a dedicated video advertising platform.

Blinkx has so far focused on being a search engine, similar to Google, but concentrated entirely on searching for video content.  The launch of AdHoc marks the company’s entry into the advertising business.

Blinkx has developed technology that translates video content from speech to text.  It means that as users watch a video, they can be delivered contextual ads depending on the speech contained within them.

The company is on the verge of signing its first clients for AdHoc after courting advertisers and media agencies over the past few months.  Blinkx said that the launch of AdHoc represents the second strand of its video search strategy.  Finding content and delivering relevant advertising are the two areas Blinkx identified as areas for exploitation.

Suranga Chandratillake, fo under and chief executive of Blinkx, said: “Ad Hoc is about taking search technology and targeting it at the problem of video advertising.”

“The company has grown up around video search and it makes sense to go into video advertising, as most ads to do with video aren’t really targeted.’’

In a separate development Blinkx has partnered with RealNetworks, creator of the downloadable application RealPlayer, to provide an integrated search engine through which users can access Blinkx’s entire network of footage.  It means that users will be able to search online video content from within RealPlayer.

Blinkx has also struck a deal with InfoSpace, which runs US search sites including Dogpile.com, to provide the video search across its range of web properties.

US-based Blinkx claims to index more than 12 million hours of video content and says that 30% of its business comes from the UK.  It powers the video search for AOL, Ask and Microsoft’s Live Search, as well as being a destination site itself.

Chandratillake has been in London for the past two weeks overseeing the company’s floatation on AIM, part of the London Stock Exchange.  Chandratillake has also been recruiting for the company’s London office which currently has a staff of five.  He said that he plans to at least double the headcount in the next few months.

Blinkx’s investment in advertising follows UK broadcasters investing heavily in video. ITV is in the process of rolling out the latest version of lTV.com, which is largely based around video content.  Channel 4 last year created its catch-up web service 4oD while the BBC is seeking to bring its iPlayer to market.