StreamSearch Plots Survival Strategy

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In the wake of some prominent Webcasters closing recently, Webcast content aggregator StreamSearch.com announced two additions to the site that the company believes will keep it and its Webcasting partners afloat.


The first addition is an e-commerce application that maps audio and video content to products from e-commerce-driven sites. The second is a co-branding marketing campaign for "Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows," the sequel to the hit film that initially was marketed on the Internet.


"If you look at the space, the biggest challenge in streaming media is the fact that it is quite hard to monetize it," said Rob Shambro, CEO of StreamSearch.com, New York. "The usage is not as high as text and Web searches, so you have to be able to monetize to a smaller viewing audience that you may only have the attention of for two to five minutes."


Shambro said his company has concentrated on infrastructure and has stayed away from the production of content because of the risk.


When visitors access any of the site's video feeds -- from sports highlights, television and film teasers and political content -- a database matches the content to either a site or specific products on sites such as Amazon.com, FogDog, MovieTickets.com, MySimon.com, Buy.com and Emerchandise.com.


StreamSearch collects 7 percent to 25 percent of the sale, with specified product links garnering the most commission. Content partners can also use the engine and benefit from sales through their audio and video. Shambro said he hopes that by the end of the year every audio or video clip will have an e-commerce link.


Shambro said he saw the addition as "natural" and added that it would benefit StreamSearch's bottom line by helping its distribution partners.


"This is the next progression in how we support our distribution partners like about.com, go.com and quest.com," Shambro said. "We allow them to not just add audio and video search to their site, but actually add the ability to add additional revenues. Any which way we can help our partners earn more money by leveraging these blanket e-commerce deals is really going to be a value add for us."


The e-commerce applications will be included as part of the personalized Webcasting service called My Streams. More than 100,000 people who have signed up for the personalized home pages and e-mailings will have their content paired with products and sites as the home pages and e-mailings change.


Meanwhile, the company also announced a marketing tie-in for the "Blair Witch 2: Book Of Shadows" film release. In a co-branded effort launching Oct. 15 and accessible from the StreamSearch splash page or at http://bw.ss.com, people will be able to preview the 64-hour Webcast marathon that Artisan pictures has put together to promote the film.


The channel will include film clips, contests, coverage of the film's premiere, e-commerce opportunities, and the complete line-up of stars and events that will make up the 64-hour Webfest Oct. 18-20 at blairwitchwebfest.com.


"This space is a challenge," Shambro said. "There have been several others in the space who have been unable to really monetize the stuff, and the fact is, we have to be creative. But obviously the more sticky that you make the site, the better."
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