NTV Live Panel: Search Face Off

Finding what you’re looking for, or what you aren’t.

Moderator: Liz Gannes, NewTeeVee

Speakers: Garrett Camp, StumbleUpon; Mary Hodder, Dabble; Adam Singolda, Taboola; Tim Tuttle, Truveo; Alex Vikati, CastTV

Video search panel

LIZ: Five core companies in a space enter — one strategy leaves (by popular vote).

Finding video you want is tough.

LIZ ON CASTTV: White-label implementation service, does good job of finding free and paid content, in ways similar to the way people search. Company not in public beta till later this year.

LIZ ON TRUVEO: Is live, arguably the largest video search. Power search for Microsoft and Brightcove. Have 47 million uniques across network. Already been bought, and have a lot of visitors.

LIZ ON TABOOLA: Launching right now. Rather than their own site, they power in-player recommendations like for 5Min. You can see videos that are similar to what you are watching. Strategy is to partner with publishers. On 5min they’ve increased time spent on the site by 52 percent.

LIZ ON DABBLE: They bring in video feeds from all over the web. They depend on users to tag and collect. They are a destination site. Can find through search or playlist.

LIZ ON STUMBLEUPON: Not just video, has applied its info to video. Create this player and tell it “show me something to watch” and it comes back with a result. You sit back and watch. It’s not driven by what you want.

LIZ: How much does size matter?

DABBLE: Yes, size does matter. Discovery is 80 percent of the problem. You need the index and discovery.


CASTTV: Yes, size matters. Quality matters. If you indexed everything on YouTube, you’d get a lot of expired vids every day. Need to account for spam. It’s not just size.

LIZ: A nice bonus is that no one hosts content, makes their job much cheaper. On Truveo have trouble finding the URL for the original content.

TRUVEO: Our focus in not being the place that hosts video, but to index. It’s not just YouTube and Veoh, but networks, Hulu, etc. It’s a hard enough problem on its own. That allows us to sidestep the copyright issues. The downside: the standards are not as fixed as in web search. The way people present video is evolving. Used to be popping up video in a direct link. Now people syndicating embeddable players.

CAST TV: Users want to play the video immediately. For long-term content, people are interested in the original host.

LIZ: Why discovery better than search?

STUMBLE UPON: People don’t want to search their TVs, they want to flip through channels, so we were thinking about remote control for the web. There’s not a lot of meta data attached to these videos.

TABOOLA: For the past 10 years, the Net was ruled by companies that could find the exact paragraph you’re looking for. Video people don’t look for that one video that they want to watch. That’s why search and discovery are complementary. once ou find what you are looking for, then what? You need something personalized to give you the videos you want to watch. Time spent with users is short, you have to nail that time give them what they want.

LIZ: How to you go inside a video to find out what its about?

CASTTV: Our goal is to get users to videos they care about. As far as relevancy, we started at source site meta data level and then found that the next category of data we could add is third-party info about the video, getting information from blogs, or review sites. And then pairing the two. So if people did plot or character search. Since funding, they’ve been delving into the media files themselves. One of our first applications is about duplicates. When search, of first 20 results, 10 are the same.

TABOOLA: The question needs to be adjusted? What’s a “Simpsons” search? The cartoon? The video? Not just what the video is about. Our approach is to study the way people behave while watching video on the site and learn what they are looking for.

STUMBLEUPON: Four million use the tool bars, giving them information. We know who likes the video. Look at what they like and make recommendations that way.

DABBLE: We collect meta data from the publishers. But we also collect data around the web. Users understand media different from the publishers. Last year, World Cup soccer clip. They are looking for Zidane, not World Cup soccer. Reframed by the users. Vids exist differently as users view them differently. The personal recommendation has a high value. If its a good recommender, than that has much higher value.

TRUVEO: Video search engines three years ago were terrible. There was never enough meta-data to match. Search engines provide far more relevance today, because of search technology being able to collect information wherever it may be, from within the data, the community, etc. Still improvement to come. We’re not there yet for searching hundreds of millions of videos.

LIZ: Strategies for video on other platforms.

DABBLE: Probably everyone on the panel working on IPTV. There are only a couple million IPTV subscribers right now, and the other piece is mobile.

STUMBLEUPON: We’re on the Wii. Has an Opera browser built in. We’ll give you a customized experience that even uses the motion control of the Wiimote. It was the best one because it had Wi-Fi and browser.

TRUVEO: Usage is still low for mobile. We have APIs for developers. Cool stuff, but nothing beyond the PC.

DABBLE: There are so many standards and formats, it’s even worse on mobile.

TABOOLA: On TV, the problem is that when you have too much content, when the user comes home, he thinks that there’s nothing to watch even though there is 200 channels. It’s obvious that a personal discovery platform has to happen on the television.

LIZ: What has this discussion missed?

STUMBLEUPON: Not just size, but breadth (not just YouTube). Have a wide variety of sources.

DABBLE: Something indicative about users habits, six months ago, looked at Digg and how users submitting and bookmarking. One out of ten was not YouTube, now one out of 10 videos is from YouTube.

TABOOLA: There are several top-tier web sites, and new web sites coming up every day. Taboola is not a destination site because we want to personalize the video experience around the world. Empower creators the ability to reach viewers.

TRUVEO: Finding video is a very tough problem. The industry has done a good job of improving search. Check out search again, it’s much better. Compare our search engine to any other search engine out there.

CASTTV: Another problem is the amount of syndication. It’s overwhelming. We try to not only deliver search results but organize them. The lines between search and discover and browse are blurring.

(People are casting votes via txt msgs now.)

AUDIENCE: Would video search be as effective for non-pc platforms?

TRUVEO: Search is still the basis, no matter how you access it.

AUDIENCE: Monetizing search?

TRUVEO: Getting APIs out there to build ecosystem that will bring in more ad opportunities.

VOTING CLOSED and StumbleUpon is the winner with 33 percent!