Wednesday, April 30, 2008, 9:50 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Gotuit, whose technology allows for indexing longer-form content into individual scenes based on their metadata, is today announcing "VideoMarker Pro." This gives content providers the choice of indexing their video themselves, rather than relying on a service relationship with Gotuit, as customers like SI, Major League Soccer, Fox Reality and others traditionally have.
As I wrote last November, I've been very bullish about broadband's ability to create searchable segments carved out of longer-form programming. A perfect example of this is what TheDailyShow.com has done, offering 19,000+ clips from all of the show's episodes. Searchable clips create a powerful new user experience leading to more video consumed. This in turn means more ad inventory which is also ripe for contextual targeting.
The big problem with creating searchable clips has been that without the proper tools it would be painfully time-consuming. Worse is that a large library would spawn thousands of clips that would need to be managed. While TheDailyShow.com took the plunge, others have been reluctant, thereby leaving a lot of highly monetizable longer-form video locked in its original state.
Enter VideoMarker Pro. Last week, Patrick Donovan, Gotuit's VP of Product Management, demonstrated for me how a show such as "Lost" would be indexed.
The starting point is for a producer to set up the show's "Attributes" or key descriptors, based on how users might be expected to search (e.g. by character, plot line, topic, funniest lines, etc.) for specific clips. Once done, the show plays in a side panel while the editor uses the tools to mark "Time-In" and "Time-Out" points, and to assign attributes to that scene. Once a scene is marked up, the editor clicks save and quickly moves on to the next one.
The whole process is dead-simple, enabling an intern or offshore partner to crank out clips quickly and accurately. Patrick estimates the whole indexing process takes 25-30% of real time (e.g. a typical 1 hour show running 44 minutes would take less than 15 minutes to index.) When you do the math, you realize it would be ridiculously cheap to index an entire season or even multiple seasons. (This is particularly relevant given the recent emphasis on offering classic TV content online - see yesterday's Warner Bros post as an example.)
There are multiple ways to present the index, using thumbnails, playlists and search. In fact VideoMarker Pro is actually creating "virtual" clips by sending an XML message to the CDN with instructions to play the video at its specified time points. This creates a lot of flexibility, especially for syndicating clips to partners. There's no clip inventory to manage, transfer and update.
VideoMarker Pro is another example of how the technologies sprouting up around broadband video allow content providers to extract ever-growing value from their original investments.
What do you think? Post a comment and let everyone know!
(Disclaimer - I have a very minor advisory role with Gotuit)