Video search startup blinkx today plans to launch an AdSense-like ad platform named blinkx AdHoc. Very much in its beta stage, the technology is designed to help advertisers target ads alongside or in Web videos based on speech-recognition technology.
The program allows advertisers to buy specific words spoken in videos as well as categories created by analyzing its overall context. The ads--pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll -will then be delivered to videos appearing on a publisher's site, selected from their own advertiser inventory, that of an ad network, or blinkx.
Blinkx is a video search engine that has already indexed some 12 million hours of video, and, with AdHoc, it hopes to entice Web producers to send their videos for indexing with the promise of ad revenue.
At least initially, blinkx is not positioning AdHoc against Google--or any other ad network for that matter. Rather, it is intended to improve to process of syncing Google text ads--for instance, with the video accessible through the blinkx network.
"AdHoc is a technology platform rather than an ad network," said Suranga Chandratillake, founder and CEO of blinkx. "It's built to improve Google's, or an existing ad network's, efforts."
Advertiser demand for such a service is palpable--as long as it works.
"Consumers desperately need tools that help them easily find what they're interested in," said Tim Hanlon, senior vice president at Denuo, the media futures unit of Publicis Groupe. "At the same time, marketers clamor to reach interested, though ever-fragmenting audiences."
Also today, blinkx is announcing a global partnership with digital entertainment services company RealNetworks, along with the InfoSpace family of meta-search brands, including Dogpile.com.
The RealNetworks deal is a blow for Truveo, the AOL-owned video search engine that has handled RealNetworks' video searching duties until now.
It's been quite the year for the London-based blinkx. These most recent deals come just months after going public with the help of a British provider of search tools named Autonomy, and shortly after the announcement it's powering Ask.com's video search.
Blinkx has made a name for itself in recent years with proprietary technology that combines voice recognition with image and contextual analysis.
The company--which already powers video search on AOL, Lycos, Times Online and other major sites--claims that a partnership with Microsoft to power the video search on MSN and Live.com has made it the "single biggest video search engine on the Web."
Before the end of the year, blinkx is also planning to launch a broadband TV network akin to existing offerings from Joost and Veoh, but with blinkx's search capabilities front and center.