Video search engine blinkx has made its first foray into advertising, working with Eyeblaster to insert ads into a branded video player for U.K. news producer ITN.
ITN, the Independent Television News network, produces news programming for commercial television broadcasters in the U.K. Beginning this week, ITN video clips will be available for free on ITN’s Web site and in blinkx.tv search results. The clips will be played in an ITN-branded, Flash-based video player developed by blinkx, preceded by :10 or :15 ads sold by Eyeblaster and served through Eyeblaster’s rich media platform.
Along with the video ads, the player will display a corresponding banner ad that remains visible during playback. Revenue generated through the ads will be shared by blinkx and ITN.
This is the first of what is expected to be several ad-supported implementations of blinkx’s new DirectPlay program, according to Suranga Chandratillake, CEO and co-founder of blinkx. He expects several of blinkx’ current content partners to begin monetizing their video through this new offering, and the company plans to lure new providers as well.
“There are certain players who are large enough to do all of this themselves, and who have access to all the technology required. There are others who may want to go with more of a hosted experience, like Google Video, where the content is only available on a particular site. The biggest group will be the ones in-between,” Chandratillake told ClickZ News. “They aren’t technologically advanced enough to do this all themselves; they want to put their content online and monetize it; yet they don’t want it to live only on one particular system. That’s exactly what we’re offering here.”
Chandratillake would not say which partners have expressed interest, but possibilities from the news and information vertical include current blinkx customers Reuters, Business Week, and Euro News. Blinkx distribution partner the New York Times Company did a similar deal with Brightcove this week.
Blinkx builds and hosts a customized media player for each content provider, which plays when the videos are accessed from the content owner’s site, from blinkx.tv search results, or from syndicated sites that the content owner has authorized.
Ads are sold by Eyeblaster on a CPM basis, either specifically to ITN’s inventory, or potentially as a run-of-network placement for any of blinkx’s partners. This is the technology provider’s first foray into ad sales, but the company plans to expand the service to other partners. The ads are delivered using Eyeblaster’s EyeNet platform, which uses pre-roll technology to insert the ads into blinkx’s media player.
EyeNet launched in the fall, and now has more than 40 publishers, including Yahoo, AOL, Advertising.com, IGN, Burst, About.com, and iFilm. EyeNet launched more recently in Australia and Europe, with publishers including CoastalWatch and SonyBMG in Australia, and Blinkx in the U.K.
Fox is the first advertiser for the ITN content, showing ads for its film “Walk the Line.” Advertisers for other EyeNet implementations include Telstra and Vivendi.
DirectPlay is based on blinkx’s existing SelfCast platform that hosts and manages content for amateur content creators. DirectPlay provides content publishers with tools for recording, encoding, hosting, streaming, distributing and monetizing television and video content online.
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