I'm a partner in the advanced analytics group at Bain & Company, the global management consulting firm. My primary focus is on marketing analytics (bio). I've been writing here (views my own) about marketing, technology, e-business, and analytics since 2003 (blog name explained).

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April 30, 2007

Video Search Part II: ScanScout

A week ago I had lunch with Waikit Lau, president and co-founder of ScanScout (http://scanscout.com).  Waikit, whom I got to know when I was at ArsDigita and he was part of the http://photo.net team a few years ago, describes ScanScout's video analysis technology like this (this is the shareable version): 

"It takes in visual, audio and textual information and extracts meaning and context out of them. Based on these meaning and other parameters, the system is able to “understand” what a video or segments of a video are about. With this meaning in hand, ScanScout places relevant ads against the "meanings" of any particular range within a video.  These ads run, effectively, "inside the video", rather than as pre- or post-roll ads served by firms like Brightroll. The company will be experimenting with other formats as well, in addition to these."

Of course, this is a pretty big idea.  Search and video are both big, therefore search for video, and attendant business models, will be big too.  ScanScout has been at this for two years now, and the world is starting to take notice.  Competition in this arena is and will become even more intense, but Waikit notes that it's not easy to replicate what they've learned empirically in the past two years.  For example, rather than licensing certain component technologies, they decided to write their own because they found that the big guys' tools were not optimized for online video. 

Accordingly the plan is to partner with video hosting providers and advertisers.  If they can combine superior reach with better targeting , ScanScout will be a very interesting player for advertisers, media firms, and their distribution intermediaries to watch.  Good luck guys!


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