Seeking to broaden its North American distribution and sign up more video programmers, ThinkAnalytics is reaching deeper into the cloud for help by adding more features to its hosted solution for video search and recommendation.
ThinkAnalytics Ltd. , one of the leading players in the young but swiftly growing video search and recommendation engine market, is expanding functionality for its ThinkCloud service. A hosted software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, ThinkCloud enables service and content providers to offer personalized search and recommendation features to video subscribers without using their own IT systems, teams, and other resources.
Company executives say the expanded ThinkCloud service will now offer the same capabilities as ThinkAnalytics' older, premises-based platform for large service and content providers that prefer to handle the IT functions on their own. With that initial platform, ThinkAnalytics has already signed up a number of major MSOs, telcos, satellite TV providers, and programmers around the world, including Cox Communications Inc. and Fox Broadcasting Co. in the US and Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), ZON Multimédia , Unitymedia GmbH , Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM), Sky , and Canal Digital in Europe.
But now ThinkAnalytics officials see a promising market for a hosted solution as well, particularly among pay-TV programmers. So, after initially concentrating on large cable operators and other service providers, they're now broadening their focus to the video programming market as well.
"Historically, we've done a lot more business with the service providers because that's where the demand is," said Christy Martin, who was recently named chief technical advisor for ThinkAnalytics. "Now we're expanding to the content providers."
ThinkAnalytics is also expanding ThinkCloud's reach to the US, after introducing it on the other side of the Atlantic first and then gathering feedback from the US market. The company claims three undisclosed European service providers as ThinkCloud's initial customers.
"I honestly would've expected cloud to be driven more out of the US," said Martin, who's based in Silicon Valley. But, she said, ThinkAnalytics debuted ThinkCloud in Europe because "that's where we had the strongest demand."
With the pay-TV industry's heightened focus on multiscreen video services, search and recommendation is emerging as an important new category in the video business. Industry experts estimate that the search and recommendation market is worth about $100 million globally today and will grow to $1 billion over the next five years.
Other major players in the video search and recommendation market include Digitalsmiths Corp. and Jinni Media Ltd. We will shortly run a story on DigitalSmith's expansion plans as well. (See Jinni Powers Comcast X2 Recommendations.)
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading