Gemstar-TV Guide Debuts Online Video Guide--In Beta

  • by April 17, 2007
After nine months of gestation, Gemstar-TV Guide finally delivered a public beta of its Online Video Guide.

The Guide ( is designed to enable entertainment fans to easily channel-surf with one-click access to their favorite shows and video clips. The product is also designed to yield relevant and refined search results and to eliminate aimless searching.

For example, if consumers search for clips of NBC's "The Office" or a character on the hit show, they'll find a couple of hundred relevant clips.

"We want to keep the results sets uncluttered and relevant," said Paul Greenberg, general manager, "Most people who are coming to TV Guide Online are looking for clips related to a specific show." In contrast, on Google Video, consumers really need to know what they're looking for.

The Guide will also aggregate independent video content from nearly 60 sites--including broadcast and cable sites, among other online entertainment hubs. Consumers can search for videos by title, show name, actor, network, description or keyword field.

One key feature, Greenberg said, is that consumers will be able to browse videos in terms of "top-ranked" videos, TV shows and celebrities, but also by network or genre. In addition, a "most popular videos section" is refreshed every hour based on how many times the individual videos are clicked on in the application.

In addition, the Online Video Guide will offer daily video picks from TV Guide editors--links to the most popular videos among the site's visitors and call-outs to the most talked-about viral videos.

TV Guide Online has a staff of 10 full-time editors and writers, in addition to resources drawn from the channel, the show and the print publication. The Online Video Guide will link out to video host sites, in a bid to further differentiate the product from other video search sites.

Consumers will be directed to the specific clip or full episode they are interested in viewing, bypassing the host site's home page or other landing page.

Greenberg said that by September, the Guide will be out of beta. In the next month or so, the Guide will add user-participation functions such as ratings, send to a friend, user comments, tagging and other Wiki-like functions. TV Guide Online is currently testing a feature that will enable consumers to upload videos. The site will have moderators for its blogs, user groups and message boards. A "clip collector" feature, like a personal playlist, is also planned.

"I'm anticipating that people who come to the site are TV fans. We want repeat visits. We're anticipating people who have created fake auditions for themselves or some other way to express themselves with video," Greenberg noted.

The Online Guide will be promoted in the magazine, on the channel, Web site, interactive programming guide, via a search engine optimization program, as well as a planned online and offline viral campaign, according to Greenberg.

Turner is the Guide's charter sponsor. "We created a lot of new units throughout the application and we're allowing targeting, so if you want to buy the comedy genre, we'll do it," Greenberg added. Video ads will also run in the online video.

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