Blinkx, the online video search site, launched the world's first searchable web-based television channel yesterday.
Users will access the peer-to-peer service using downloadable software to view TV-quality news and entertainment content from the firm's 250 existing partners such as ITN and the Ministry of Sound. The channel will also include a library of 40 feature films thanks to a tie-up with Dogwoof, a UK-based independent film distributor, with another 10 to 20 to be added each quarter.
By linking the service with Blinkx's existing video search capabilities, viewers will be able to click through to extra features such as searchable transcripts of the programme or links to related news or information on the internet. "It is about embedding the experience into the rest of the web, rather than just running on top of it," Suranga Chandratillake, the firm's chief executive, said.
Initially the service will be launched without advertising, but once established it will be integrated with the search site's targeted ad strategy. In such a young market, working out how to make money and how to attract loyal customers will be crucial, say analysts.
"Blinkx needs to give users a compelling reason to download and install the software, as opposed to using other services," Rajeev Bahl, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, said. "The level of promotion the product will be given isn't yet clear but the pace of downloads of the software will be a key metric."