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blinkx searches for lifestyle content

Video search engine Blinkx has earmarked cookery, DIY and travel as the genres with the biggest online growth potential in the coming months, because of pent-up demand among internet users and advertisers.

Blinkx chief executive Suranga Chandratillake predicted lifestyle programming is likely to become a boom area and is in talks with several production companies about ways of making such content accessible. It expects to have deals tied up this year.

This is the kind of stuff that’s made for TV and had a good-sized audience, but only shown once or twice and not released on DVD because it has limited potential as a brand,” said Chandratillake.

“A lot of this content sits on indies’ shelves and doesn’t go anywhere, and it’s the kind of content that absolutely requires a search to be found. People aren’t necessarily looking for a particular show but for a specific topic of advice on their own project.”

Chandratillake argued that this material also had the potential to attract targeted advertisers. He also said it would be able to yield greater value via a portal such as Blinkx than both user-generated content, which tends to uploaded only once, and major drama and comedy programming, which has now become ubiquitous online.

Indies are also starting to face competition from start-ups such as video-led, how-to site videojug.com and should exploit their own library of content, he argued.

To date, Blinkx has formed partnership deals with broadcasters and major news providers such as the BBC, ITN and CNN rather than indies.

It now has 14 million hours of content indexed using a variety of tools such as voice recognition, text reading and keyword searches. It attracts around 4 million searches a day through blinkx.com and license agreements with the likes of ask.com and lycos.com. The indexing service is also offered to content partners for their own sites.

Working with some of its US partners, Blinkx is now developing sophisticated profiling tools, which will recommend video content to users based on their previous searches and viewing choices.