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Small Talk: World Cup fever gives blinkx a chance to shine

The World Cup started on Friday, in case anyone missed it, and the national appetite for the competition has seen every consumer company attempt to jump on the band wagon rolling by. The subsequent deluge of advertising has ranged from the good (Nike and Puma) to the excruciating (pretty much all the others).

Football fans are keen consumers of everything to do with their sport, and the internet has only served to feed their desire for content.

One company that should do well out of the football fever is Aim-listed video search engine blinkx, fresh from landmark financial results released recently.

This weekend it looked to build on the excitement of the World Cup by launching a dedicated channel. blinkx founder Suranga Chandratillake told Small Talk: “The consumption of sport content online is gathering pace, so much more so than even the last World Cup. At the moment it isn’t a big driver of traffic to the site, but it will be. If it is on offer there will be huge demand.”

blinkx is different to YouTube in that users do not upload content directly. Instead it’s whizzy software searches the web for video on other sites. It was set up in 2004, spinning out of Autonomy, the FTSE 100 software group. The group developed a search engine following research at Cambridge University which can search speech and analyse video content.

The group reported in May that revenues had risen from $13.9m to $33.6m in its last financial year, flagging particularly that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation went positive in the second half. It also broke into the top 10 of comScore and Nielsen’s top 10 video sites. It is also developing a mobile presence. blinkx makes its money from advertising and has been looking at alternative ways to boost revenues. Mr Chandratillake added that while it had mulled introducing subscription and pay-per-view models, the group was to stick to its traditional model for now. Sports will help blinkx’s performance, but its search engine may struggle with the volume of “Robert Green” and “blunder” searches.