Looking for Video Search

Being a search guy, I think of online video differently than others might. I love video on demand, streaming trailers, sport clips, music videos, "Saturday Night Live" skits. Love it all. But what does this popularity tell us? Online video is the killer app--not fixed-place TVs, no matter how fancy or precise they get.

Not that consumers won't watch programs on these high-def devices, but they also want to get news, sports, weather, etc., on demand; and they seem to increasingly prefer video regardless of the device they are using.

After reading Cerelle Centeno's recent MediaPost article, "Mobile Search Is More Than Your Local Green Grocer," I realized she was right. Then I started to think about this fact as it relates to video.

Centeno points out that ESPN is becoming a "virtual mobile network." The Weather Channel is making similar strides. This is all great, but as front-end consumption fragments while back-end providers are forced to consolidate content and video and then figure out how best to deliver it, one thing stands out: video search. This goes for VOD, TiVo, Video iPod, mobile videos on Treos, or Verizon's Vcast.

How does the consumer easily sort through all the choices? I look at my iPod now, just old- school MP4s, no video yet, and I get overwhelmed at sorting and organizing 15 GB of music. Then I see Google's local search. It knows the device I'm using and will filter results not suited for enjoyable consumption.

These two factors must collide and meld for the future of video. I love VOD, but hate going to my box and tabbing through the commands: main menu, on demand, new, original programming, HBO, series, "Deadwood"--and then have to page down four pages more to find the episode I want. As I add content to more devices, someone has to help me sort it.

Right now, all the engines are having a go at video search, but much of it isn't much different than a Web search where videos are given meta tag data so relevancy can be applied.

Will this formula work for all the video out there on so many devices? What will the new face of search be? Obviously, it will be mobile in nature and will have to account for video. Especially as the likes of ESPN and local stations make their video content available on-air, on- demand, on-line, over various mobile devices. On top of that, you have consumers cross-pollinating video from iPod to TiVo to laptop, etc.

I don't claim to know the answer, but it's exciting to watch and be a part of, both as an ad professional and as a tech-junkie who loves his Treo, TiVo, [albeit archaic] iPod, portable 60GB hard drive and so on. Oh, and can I add before I let you go... props to Apple for, in just one year, making me go from hipster to loser. Man, my slim 15GB iPod in that cool white got so huge, so outdated and so ugly so fast. So long.

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