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Comcast Acquires Audio-Video Search Firm StreamSage

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Comcast, the cable giant looking to enhance its online and TV search capabilities, has quietly bought out a small audio-video search firm StreamSage, has learned. The Washington, DC-based startup, founded in 2000, came into prominence last year with the presidential elections, when it launched CampaignSearch, a multimedia search site which gathered and indexed campaign-related video and audio files from a number of sites, including NPR, PBS, C-Span and others.

Comcast will be using StreamSage’s computational linguistics software for not just indexing and better searching its own content on its TV/VOD service and online, but it is also planning on searching open-Web content, and possibly incorporating it in its service.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has been openly enthusiastic about video search; last year he and COO Stephen Burke visited Seattle and spoke to Microsoft and other area tech companies working on video search. In an interview last year with WSJ, Roberts said: “Eventually 10,000 hours will be available on demand [in our archives]. And if you then overlay that with access to the Internet, there is virtually unlimited content that consumers will be able to access on a television, a PC and perhaps on a mobile device. There is constantly going to be a need to make it easy for consumers to access what they want when they want it. Call it a search engine. Call it a portal. Call it an on-screen guide or navigation device.”

StreamSage has invested in R&D heavily since it started…the firm received $2 million in R&D grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2001. Its chief scientist Tim Sibley is known for his research work in computational linguistics.


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