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TV Guide to unveil Web video search tool

March 29, 2007|From the Associated Press

TV Guide, which has helped viewers navigate through thousands of television shows for 53 years, now wants to do the same for Internet video.

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. next month will launch a test version of an online video search tool that will enable viewers to find clips and full episodes of TV shows posted on the Web. A formal launch is planned for September.

The tool will not try to aggregate the thousands of user-generated videos featuring skits, pet tricks and other antics being posted on sites such as YouTube and Revver.

Instead, it will scour about 60 websites from major television networks such as ABC and Fox and other video portals such as AOL and Google to find network and original programming produced by major media companies.

"Everybody says, 'Who's going to be the TV Guide of online video?' and we say, 'Why shouldn't it be us?' " said Richard Cusick, senior vice president of digital media for Hollywood-based Gemstar.

The company hopes to make money by selling ads on the new search site as well as by licensing its technology.

The effort comes amid an explosion of video content on the Web. Sites such as YouTube, owned by Google Inc., and Grouper, owned by Sony Corp., attract millions of visitors and feature short clips uploaded by users.

TV Guide is coming late to the video search game. The head start enjoyed by other companies, most notably Google, could be difficult to overcome, said Rob Enderle, a technology analyst.

"If they don't want to become obsolete, they have to get into the search business," Enderle said, adding that the strength of the TV Guide brand could be a key to attracting users.

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