There’s a lot of talk about remunerating video creators these days. Revver’s been doing it a while, along with Metacafe. Blinkx is now monetizing video for publishers too, but unlike YouTube’s recent offering, ,revenue is only split between Blinkx and the publishers.
They’re launching an ad network, “Blinkx AdHoc”, that lets publishers serve contextual ads on top of the videos they embed on their sites. All a publisher needs to do is sign up and wrap their video’s player in Blinkx’ ad code you can get here (there’s a full explanation in a video I embedded below). Publishers are paid half of any ad revenue generated from ads served on their site via PayPal. I have a feeling that this product will be popular amongst video submitters for sites like Digg.
Behind the scenes, the technology matching ads to the videos comes from Blinkx existing “AdHoc” ad server, which powers the contextual ads served on their own and partner sites (Ask, Real, Lycos, Infospace, Looksmart). AdHoc looks at meta data and parses any speech in the video to match the clip with an appropriate ad. Suranga Chandratillake, co-founder and CTO of Blinkx, says their network has improved ad yields anywhere from 10-150% depending on the content of the video. Short entertainment clips don’t tend to see as much improvement, but longer informational clips see higher gains by picking out advertisements related to the concepts being discussed.
Blinkx has done their best to not obstruct the operation and ads of the original player. Ads show up as drop down text links at the top of video or as a static box displayed above the player. It’s very similar to AdBrite’s BritePic product.
Before there are screams of indignation over putting ads on someone else’s videos, this doesn’t seem all to different to how video publishers currently make money. They place Google Adsense alongside embeded videos. Other startups have gotten in trouble by materially altering the function of a site’s video player (i.e. Searchles pulling videos out of Grouper’s player). Blinkx doesn’t alter the underlying player, but layers on top of it. Yet it seems a curious reality that in online video, apart from all other media, it has become perfectly acceptable to embed and monetize someone else’s content. On the other hand, creators can choose to not allow embeds of their videos.
The bigger problem is whether Blinkx’ network can compete against YouTube’s pre-bundled advertising. While Blinkx offers the ability to serve advertising over many of the social video sites, YouTube still dominates the content in that arena. It won’t be long before their video AdSense expands beyond a select few opt-in clients. Blinkx is going to have to offer publishers a bigger payoff without angering social video sites in order to survive.