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Summit News

Blinkx eyes place on UK's YouView

LONDON (Reuters) - Video search-engine operator Blinkx BLNX.L is in talks with the developers behind the British Internet TV project YouView and hopes it will be available on the platform when it launches next year.

Suranga Chandratillake, founder and CEO of Blinkx, speaks at the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York December 1, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar

“We know the YouView team very well and we are involved in the various processes they currently have running with the tech teams,” Blinkx founder and chief executive Suranga Chandratillake told the Reuters Global Media Summit via videolink from New York on Wednesday.

“At the moment everything they are doing is internal technology but they have a number of programmes to interact and engage with external technology and content providers, and where appropriate we are involved in those processes.

“We certainly want to be on that platform in some way, in what way depends on what the platform ends up looking like.”

YouView, which started out as Project Canvas, is a partnership between the BBC, ITV ITV.L, Channel 4, Five, BT BT.L, TalkTalk TALK.L and Arqiva, which will offer digital terrestrial channels and Internet-delivered TV services via a set top box connected to the TV set. It hopes to launch next year.

Chandratillake told the summit he believed YouView had a better chance of success than efforts by others such as Google GOOG.O and Microsoft MSFT.O to break into the TV market because its backers were mostly broadcasters and therefore understand TV.

“It feels like a better stab than almost anyone else has had so far,” he said.

Blinkx has indexed more than 35 million hours of audio, video, viral and TV content using patented search technology. It generates ad revenue at the search stage and then also within the playback if the video is shown on its own site or on one of its partners’ sites.

The company is moving into the emerging mobile and tablet video online market, and said earlier on Wednesday that its video app for the android operating system, which is already available on Samsung's 005930.KS Galaxy S smartphone, had been selected for Samsung's Galaxy Tab device.

Chandratillake said advertisers were not yet willing to spend money on mobile and tablet video advertising, but said he expected that to change.

“Most people look at the (tablet) platform as being too early and they don’t understand it yet,” he said.

“It’s a bit like mobile, but there are a few people who advertise on it and the rates are slightly higher.”

Blinkx was also willing in the future to charge for content, he said, and the most likely platforms for this would be TV and mobile, as consumers are already used to paying for content.

“We’re not (selling any content to end users yet) because on the Web it’s all based on advertising, but the point is we have the agreements in place should we decide to charge for content on these other platforms in the future,” he said.

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