British video search company Blinkx saw its stock spike briefly this morning, following an announcement that it will power AOL’s video search. AOL is one of the largest video destinations on the Web, with about 450 million video views per month according to comScore.
Blinkx will also incorporate AOL’s premium videos in its own search engine. (Presumably, that will include TCTV videos, since we are owned by AOL). Blinkx itself attracts 55 million U.S. video searchers a month. AOL’s video properties are watched by about 40 million unique viewers (comScore), so the deal could significantly expand blinkx’s reach.
But doesn’t AOL already have its own video search technology? Back in 2006 it acquired a video search engine called Truveo. Up until recently, Truveo was powering all of AOL’s video search. But it’s been on life support for months, and now with this deal the plug is being pulled on Truveo. (Update: To be clear, it is the Truveo video search platform that is being retired. The engineering team is being redeployed to work on content creation and distribution tools. Also, the blinkx deal is only for video search on AOL.com).
Failed acquisitions aside, AOL wants its videos to reach the broadest audience. An internal-only video search engine doesn’t do much to reach new audiences. Of course, most people search for videos on Google, not blinkx. And somehow YouTube always seems to turn up as the top video results on Google. If your videos aren’t on YouTube, they are sort of invisible. But if they are on YouTube, you have to cut them in on the ad revenues. So media companies are trying to push video viewers to their own sites through deals like the one AOL just did with blinkx.