Tube Cookies

Google’s acquisition of YouTube for the princely sum of $1.65 billion has set in motion a new thrust in M&A activity by major media companies in an effort to acquire video distribution channels.

Marketer’s and net publishers should step lightly until the picture clears for emerging standards and formats. A quick scan of this arena reveals a host of service offerings which include the following start-ups as most prominent today – not your cookie-cutter YouTube:

TV Eyes
Video Egg
Venice Project

Each performs search and distribution using proprietary technology. This includes Google’s YouTube which is text driven and not considered state-of-the-art for comprehensive video search. Blinkx and TV Eyes, as examples, serve up search results based on audio/video keys.

A hybrid approach, combining text, video and audio, cleansed for duplication, would appear to offer a well rounded solution.

It is obvious, from market feedback, that quality and broadband resources have yet to match TV quality. A quick check of the services mentioned here reveals the following pros and cons ….

Blinkx, TV Eyes and Bittorrent searches returned spotty (if any) results when queried for a Geico commercial. Blinkx served up “Ghetto Insurance” while results for the others were nil. Bittorrent, which utilizes peer-to-peer technology for fast and broader search netted zero returns, cluttered with annoying sponsored links. Video Egg is still searching for a good user experience.

Veoh, still in beta, did find a Geico commercial, but suffered in video quality. In all instances, the depth of video libraries did not come close to YouTube.

Both Brightcove and the Venice Project, although not search engines, are perhaps the most promising in video delivery. Brightcove provides a high quality, TV-Like experience but did suffer a bit synchronizing video to audio, apparent in Jeremy Allaire’s corporate pitch on his site.

On the horizon, Niklas Zennstromm and Janus Friis, of Kazaa and Skype fame, are launching their Venice Project for P2P video distribution, promising a roll-up of quality rivaling that of TV. They are in negotiations with major producers and will likely make an announcement this Fall.

For now, tube cookies are still baking.

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