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blinkx challenges Google in video ad arena

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Online video search service blinkx took on Google with the Wednesday launch of a video advertising platform to challenge one released by the Internet giant a day earlier.

The blinkx AdHoc platform lets people embed ad-laced videos in their websites and then share in advertising revenues in the same way that Google’s new AdSense “video units” does.

Blinkx promises website operators half the money taken in from advertising. Google has not disclosed the percentage of revenues going to publishers.

While Google provides the advertising option only with video from YouTube, which it bought last year in a 1.65-billion-dollar stock deal, blinkx offers content from varied sources including YouTube and Paris-based DailyMotion.

Blinkx has deals with more than 200 media companies to distribute copyrighted content and boasts an index of more than 14 million hours of video and audio.

On Monday, San Francisco-based blinkx added French, German and Spanish content to its index to win viewers in Western Europe and wrest the spotlight from YouTube.

“The dramatic growth of online video has been driven by a global audience; individuals who are creating and distributing user-generated content,” said blinkx founder and chief executive Suranga Chandratillake.

“We want to reward people for the role they played in sharing and promoting video legally on the web.”

Google’s “video units” program enables publishers to embed YouTube videos on their websites using a customized player and then make money from overlay text ads that fade in and out as videos play.

The move is Google’s initial foray into squeezing money from YouTube and marks the first time the US Internet titan is serving up content along with ads.

In a recent interview, Chandratillake said he is confident YouTube can be dethroned despite being backed by US Internet colossus Google.

“Our background is technology, much more so than many of the other video sites,” Chandratillake said.

“YouTube is not really a technology company; it is more of a media and culture company. They are more formidable in a sense now because they are part of what started out as a technology company but what is now an advertising company.”

Blinkx went public this year on London’s AIM and is to release its first quarterly earnings report October 25.