Gemstar-TV Guide International Incorporated, which has helped viewers navigate through thousands of TV shows for 53 years, now wants to do the same for Internet video. The company will launch a test version next month of an online video search tool that allows viewers to find clips and full episodes of TV shows now being posted on the Web. A formal launch of the ad-supported search service is planned for September. The tool will scour about 60 Web sites from major 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 at Gemstar-TV Guide.
The TV Guide video search technology looks for metadata surrounding a video. It then marries that information with the vast database compiled over the years for TV Guide's print magazine and Web site. "We can take relatively unstructured Web data, combine it with our very structured TV data and get much more relevant results and start to draw those connections," Cusick said. The TV Guide search tool will also allow users to save videos in an application that can be 'detached" from the site and sit on the computer screen, allowing viewing at any time. The company is also planning search tools for mobile devices. "It used to be about TV guidance, but now it's about video guidance and TV Guide needs to be the leading provider of video guidance," Gemstar chief executive Richard Battista said.