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blinkx to develop online TV service

blinkx, the Aim-listed video search group, is planning to develop its own online television service, entering the broadband video market in competition with mainstream broadcasters and well-funded start-ups such as Joost and Babelgum.

The group, spun off from Autonomy in May, announced last week that it had become the world’s biggest video search engine, with 4.2m daily searches of the 18m hours of online broadcast content it has indexed.

Suranga Chandratillake, chief executive, told the Financial Times that blinkx Broadband TV would launch by the end of its financial year in March.

The service, using peer-to-peer streaming technology, would work with content partners on specialist areas such as a health channel that would group together programmes on fitness, yoga and healthy eating.

The focus on such specialisms would allow for more targeted advertising, said Mr Chandratillake, a computer scientist who worked as Autonomy’s chief technology officer in California before the blinkx flotation.

It would target neither the top end of professional broadcast content nor the mass of user-generated content available on sites such as YouTube and DailyMotion. “What we really like is the middle tier of content,” he said, voicing doubt about advertisers’ appetite for appearing alongside amateur video.

blinkx, which raised $50m (£24m) in its initial public offering, believes its technology, which analyses video and profiles customers according to their searches, makes it more relevant to advertisers than search engines based on sometimes misleading ‘tagging’.

Having indexed an estimated two-thirds of the video available online, it has signed 225 content partners, including Fox and NBC, the US networks that last week broke away from the Google-owned YouTube to launch Hulu.com, their own online video site.

Mr Chandratillake said larger partners could command a 75 per cent share of advertising revenues generated through blinkx.