Blinkx Launches BBTV

Video search company blinkx is expanding into the Internet TV platform space with the launch of BBTV, a hybrid P2P service that promises to combine television watching and web surfing into one experience. That is, if you don’t mind a download, are on a PC and enjoy indie films.

A standout feature of the new service is the ability to search for words spoken within a piece of content. BBTV automatically creates a speech track within the video, allowing viewers to jump to specific points in the show. Combined with the company’s AdHoc service, it could serve up highly-targeted ads matching what you wanted to watch. BBTV also allows viewers to learn more about what they’re watching, including transcripts of the audio, background info on actors, locations, etc.

Nifty features aside, the big stumbling block for BBTV is the fact that the service requires a download. Consumers are conditioned to watching video directly on the web, and they don’t like putting up with any impediments — no matter how small. AOL killed its Hi-Q service. Joost is having troubles. And which are you more likely to tune into: the web-based Hulu or NBC Direct?

Additionally, BBTV doesn’t offer any gotta-see content. blinkx has a deal with U.K. indie-film distributor Dogwoof Pictures, and it’s been reported elsewhere that the company also has deals with ITN, Gateway Films and Playboy Networks.

The lack of killer content makes me wonder why blinkx is even getting into the distribution game. The market is already crowded with Joost, Vuze, Babelgum and others — none of whom are taking off. Licensing films is a lot of work and detracts from blinkx’s core mission. The world is still in need of a killer video search app, why not focus on that? Or offer this transcript search service as an add-on to other video players?

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