• Truveo Capitalizes on Video Search Explosion

    Continuing my analysis of the video search space, just before the holidays, I had a briefing with Tim Tuttle, CEO and co-founder of Truveo, to preview some information the company released today. Started in early 2004 and acquired by AOL in December, 2005 qualifies Truveo as one of the main established players in video search.

    I've been focusing a lot on this area as I believe that broadband video navigation is going to follow a similar pattern as general web content navigation -- with search taking center stage.

    Truveo's growth in '07 reflects the overall surge of interest in broadband video. On the demand side, Tim reports that Truveo experienced a 20x increase in number of queries vs. a year ago. And on the supply side, Truveo has experienced a similar jump, now indexing 100 million videos, up from the 5-10 million videos it indexed at the beginning of '07.


    Truveo now reaches 50 million unique visitors/mo, through its own site and across a network of partner sites where Truveo search is embedded, including AOL, MSN Video, CNET Search, Time Warner Cable, Qwest, Netvibes and many other smaller players which use Truveo's API. The company doesn't break out uniques by site, but with its recent international emphasis, Tim believes that at least 50% of its traffic now comes from outside the U.S.

    A big shift Truveo has noticed in just the last 6 months is toward user searches for network TV programs and other professional video. This has displaced some of the searching for viral videos that was the traditional core. From my perspective, this is further evidence that the networks are succeeding with their online distribution initiatives. Tim sees this trend continuing in '08, as users' expectations for finding high-quality video online continues to grow.

    Tim believes this shift is particularly beneficial to Truveo as it specifically built its "visual crawling" technology to find video that's in Flash or Ajax sites, and therefore hard for traditional search techniques to find.

    While Truveo still operates with a fair amount of independence from its base in the Bay area, AOL seems to be recognizing more and more its strategic value. AOL has recently begun raising the visibility of Truveo in the overall AOL experience and will continue to do so.

    Meanwhile on the revenue front, Tim said that the AOL acquisition has allowed Truveo to "de-prioritize" for a time its focus on revenue growth, instead concentrating on expanded reach. Despite this, Truveo is intent on capitalizing on its traffic and Tim sees the recent flurry of activity around contextual targeting as playing right to Truveo's strengths. We agreed there is much in flux about broadband video advertising and that formats beyond pre-rolls are essential. Of course what those are remains uncertain - overlays or something else?