At the recent NewTeeVee conference, a panel comprised of several Video Search providers agreed that indexing and searching through millions of online videos isn't the real challenge facing them. According to Mary Hodder, Chairman of Dabble, “recommendation and discovery is 80% of the problem.”
No one is denying the video explosion and fragmentation underway. In October 2006, there were approximately 100 million video viewings online, with over half seen through YouTube. Today, by contrast, about a quarter of all videos are viewed on YouTube, and online consumption has grown to 300 million total views monthly.
In response, Dabble and its competitors are adapting their approaches to content management. How the results are organized, clustered and presented is important. Tim Tuttle, who serves as the CEO of Truveo (owned by AOL), explained that, “we want to make it possible for you to find video every time you want it...[and] it's hard to solve this problem.” According to Alex Vikati, president of castTV, “the lines between search, discovery and browse are a little fuzzy.”
Tuttle says that a focused approach is also important, and Truveo “goes to all [key] places, including media companies and major content producers.” Vikati feels that, “it's not just size, but comprehensiveness” that matters. He believes that premium content is important, but classifying spam and other poor quality results should be addressed first. Bearing in mind how many videos are ephemeral, there has been significant progress made by providers in de-duping and updating search results.
Additionally, search vendors are working with new outputs from video sharing and social environments. They have taken advantage of user metadata, like commentary, surrounding the videos. While I do think the answer lies somewhere in the social arena, text surrounding the videos seems a bit askew – comments may not actually be very insightful or even related to the video subjects.
A better approach to discovery? It's telling that when NewTeeVee attendees were asked to vote on the best Video Search provider, they crowned StumbleUpon as the winner! Founder Garrett Camp doesn't focus exclusively on video but rather anything interesting on the web. His business helps people share what's intriguing to them. Heresy? Perhaps. But clearly the answer isn't about old-school search.