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TV Guide Testing Video Search Engine

27 Mar, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Seeking to repurpose itself in the burgeoning world of online video, Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. April 16 will begin beta testing an online video search engine.

The ad-supported tool, which will be linked to the home page of TVGuide.com, will allow users to search for professionally generated clips, TV shows and movies posted on the Internet.

A formal launch of the service, which includes a search engine and browser function, is slated for the third quarter, according to Paul Greenberg, GM of TV Guide Online.

“We think there is need in the marketplace for this product,” said Greenberg.

He said the text-based search tool was in response to third-party research that found 70% of online users focused on professionally generated content, compared to user generated content (UGC) more frequently found at social networking sites such as YouTube and MySpace.

Greenberg said the advantage of the TV Guide tool would be its ability to differentiate between professionally generated videos and random name associations.

He cited NBC show “The Office,” which if entered into the TV Guide tool would generate 222 videos, compared to more than 24,000 videos on Google and 903,000 videos on Blinkx.com.

Greenberg said only eight of the top 30 clips found on Blinkx were from the actual TV show and 90% of The Office clips on Google were UGC from YouTube.

“We are currently scraping 55 sites, all TV network-related, for video,” said Greenberg, who added that a separate search engine targeting UGC would be launched later this year.

He said that with 30% of online browsers looking for the top UGC, the link would focus on the top 50 videos culled from YouTube, Revver, Grouper, StupidVideos.com, Break.com and Heavy.com, among others.

“Beer freezing in three seconds is not what we are focusing on,” said Greenberg. “But we need to guide people to that as more great independent content becomes available.”

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