Video Advertising for the Long Tail: Behind Blinkx’s Acquisition of Burst Media

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approach the individual sites in Burst’s network—sites like,, Momdot, MomsWhoThink, Politico, Runescape, and Sidereel—and look for opportunities to incorporate more video alongside the conventional display ads Burst was already serving on their pages.

“We know how big Burst is, but we don’t know to what extent we can convert it into a video network,” Chandratillake acknowledges. “Some of the sites that Burst represents are absolutely going to stay text sites. Some will change. They have a whole bunch of sites around video game content, and a lot of those will take video extremely well. They happen to have a bunch of education sites, where the crossover is less obvious.”

One of the key challenges as Blinks integrates Burst, Chandratillake says, will be “figuring out how to introduce video into these sites in a way that maintains the publishers’ control and consistency, while also delivering the quality, appearance, and presentation, which is very important from the advertisers’ point of view. But the great thing about the increasing deportalization and widgetization of the Web is that this sort of thing is easier than it ever was.”

In other words, there are lots of non-intrusive ways to offer video content to site visitors; a video might appear in embedded players, for example, or it might pop up as an overlay. “A lot of these smaller sites don’t have the scale to produce their own video, and if this means they can get video for free and get larger checks because of it, they will like it,” says Chandratillake. Burst has a strong publisher services team that will be able to shepherd the individual publishers into the new video era carefully, Chandratillake says: “That’s part of why we bought them.”

But even if Burst hadn’t come along at the right price, Blinkx would have had to do something eventually to build an audience worth video advertisers’ attention, Chandratillake says. “This allows us to flow in the direction we think the market is going anyway,” he says. “If you look at the way advertisers buy TV, there is event-style advertising like buying ads on American Idol or the Super Bowl, but a lot of people are taking the channel viewpoint, selling to kids on Nickelodeon or to cooks on the Food Network. This will allow us to create an advertising product that looks like a collection of cable networks, just on the Internet—the difference being that you will get a level of targeting and analytics that you don’t get on TV.”

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Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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