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Video Apps Vs. Web Video: Apps Are Invisible To Search

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Videos on the iPad and other tablets look great, and increasingly apps are being created specifically for watching videos on tablets. There is just one problem: they cannot be found by search. This problem is true for information in all apps in general, but it is particularly one for video.

A couple weeks ago, I moderated a panel at Beet.TV’s Video Strategy Summit where this topic came up. In the video clip above, Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at the NPD Group, points out that there is no electronic program guide for video apps, which “makes it very difficult to discover video.” If you have a thousand video apps, that makes it very hard to find any one video. Akamai chief strategist Chris Van Noy says that apps have the upper hand when it comes to video viewing right now, but he suspects that will change over the next 18 months as HTML5 makes it easier for video to be published once and played anywhere across devices.

Kevin Krim, head of Bloomberg’s web properties, thinks apps can create loyal relationships, but they depend on home runs. He prefers to play short ball and get “good search exposure.” Bloomberg currently has 13,000 videos archived online and adds 50 to 100 every weekday. “I want that to all be in Google search results and get traffic from that,” he says, “you can’t do that in apps. Every time someone watches our video, that’s a single. I can pile those up all day long.”

In the video below, ABC Digital Media executive VP Paul Slavin agrees that search and other forms of Web discovery are key. He estimates that 70 percent of ABCNews.com’s video views come in “through the side door” from search or links from other sites.

Locking up videos in apps makes them invisible to most of the people who might otherwise watch them. Of course, that is why video publishers double up their videos on the Web and inside apps. But someone needs to figure out how to search inside apps, and not just for videos.