Gray TV To Offer Ad Tie-In To Video Search Queries

Gray Television has signed a one-year syndication agreement to run Pixsy's video search engine technology on 30 of its U.S. television market Web sites. The network plans to announce the agreement on Friday, but officially roll out the service Oct. 1.

The technology lets viewers search through millions of videos across Gray TV's broadcast network and the web, as well as give advertisers an option to tie ads to video search queries.

A text box will promote the search feature, and soon viewers could also see banner ads explaining search options, according to Mike Braun, sales and marketing manager for Gray Television Interactive Division, Atlanta.

"The viewer will always get videos from within their local market first," he says. "If there's flooding in several cities where we broadcast, the last thing I want to see is results from another state returned before local news. We're looking at adding a tag at the bottom of the video to identify those from outside the viewer's local market."



Tying search queries to ads has become a critical advantage for those selling space to support sites, and developing the correct strategy offers advertisers and companies servicing--increasing the media potential for economic growth.

"Breaking news probably isn't the best opportunity to link ads to search queries, but rather investigative reports or community features," says James McQuivey, vice president/principal analyst at Forrester Research.

For instance, a local TV station running a special investigative feature on mortgage lenders could sell ad space to local businesses running a special on low rates. The viewer queries the broadcast on the local station's Web site--which in turn returns the video, along with others across the Web. Or a consumer could search the site for a video on a specific topic that may have run on a local station or somewhere else in the world.

Alongside the broadcast video, an ad appears highlighting "refinance rates at 6.7%"--an appropriate advertisement for someone who cares about the mortgage lender report and probably wants more information on the market. Local events could tie into ads for businesses and destinations like beaches and hotels, too.

About 47% of U.S. Internet users view video online weekly, McQuivey says--but only a small percentage of those videos reside on news sites, making it more important for Pixsy's search engine to locate content across Gray TV's Web sites and the Web.

The video search engine aims to generate more Web site traffic, and in theory keep consumers on the site longer. Much of Google's success comes from a target-advertising strategy, which matches ads to search queries. So, in theory, each search query returns related text ads. Consumers click on the text ads that provide more information on the product or service.

Pixsy CEO Chase Norlin, who created Sony's first photo and video sharing tools and site, says the San Francisco-based company created a "mini Google search engine for Gray TV because if the consumer can't find the searchable content on Gray TV's network, they will leave the site and search for the content somewhere else."

In an attempt to drive traffic to affiliate Web sites, Gray Television will suggest that each station add a tagline inviting viewers to search for videos from newscasts as well as others across the Web, although many stations already direct viewers to their Web site at the end of the news broadcast. "This positions the station's Web site as the local authority to help navigate the vast treasure trove of videos across the Web," McQuivey says.

Gray TV is a network of stations located in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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