Interview with PodZinger
TechAddress: Tell me a bit about your company, what it does and what’s your value proposition?
PodZinger: PodZinger is an audio and video search engine and advertising network for advertisers, content providers and consumers. The value PodZinger brings to advertisers is a more relevant way to deliver and associate their brand messages to consumers via the most appropriate web content. For content creators, PodZinger enables them to generate revenue and give their viewers and listeners a more valuable experience. For consumers, PodZinger’s search engine allows users to find audio and video content based on keyword searches, skim the results for relevance the same way they would for text, and then “jump to “a specific location in the audio and video without fast forwarding or listening to the entire file.
TechAddress: What makes your company stand apart from your competitors?
PodZinger: Two things stand out. The first differentiator is that PodZinger’s advertising program is unique because of our ability to assess “consumer intent” and to filter the best content from the less desirable. We can deliver more relevant audio and video ads to consumers, allowing advertisers to associate branded messages with the most appropriate content for them.
The second differentiator is that for consumers, PodZinger brings a traditional search experience to the previously uncharted territory of audio and video search and adds an entirely new user interface, making it easy to directly find, skim and play just the portions of online audio and video that they choose.
TechAddress: What are some of the main features?
PodZinger: The obvious main feature is that we really do go beyond the tags and metadata to search the words inside audio and video to find relevant content. In fact, PodZinger is the only search engine that allows consumers to skim the audio and video search results for relevance just as they do for text and to immediately “jump to” that part of the audio or video that is relevant to them.
There are a number of other cool and fun things you can do on the PodZinger site. We offer a Spanish language site, an easy way to subscribe (via RSS) to topics of interest as they become available, a ZingIndex site to see “Who is talking about what,” and a safe search feature to filter out objectionable content.
TechAddress: Who’s your target customer or audience?
PodZinger: Our target audiences are advertisers that want a better way to connect their message to consumers of online content, content creators and publishers that want to monetize their audio and video assets for both new and archived, and consumers that just want to be able to easily find good information in audio and video.
In addition to operating PodZinger on www.podzinger.com, we work with a variety of partners to host search and search results for them, e.g. Leo Laporte’s Twit network, www.twit.tv, presentations from the annual TED conference, www.ted.com/tedtalks , and the popular videoblog Rocketboom, www.rocketboom.com just to name a few.
TechAddress: Any new things in particular that you’re working on right now?
PodZinger: You will see PodZinger continue to innovate in the search and advertising space for connecting advertisers to the “good stuff,” specifically within video. This means we can separate out the desirable content from the garbage. Every media company today is facing this dilemma as they try to monetize their assets. PodZinger has done this using our rich set of speech and natural language processing to solve this problem.
TechAddress: Where do you see your company heading in the future?
PodZinger: We see PodZinger stepping up to the challenge of identifying desirable content from undesirable content that is plaguing the media and advertising industry today and powering audio and video search for a broader array of media companies.
TechAddress: Any negative feedback or criticism regarding technology and services?
PodZinger: Every once in a while, we’ll get feedback on the quality of the text snippets we provide for search results. The quality of a recording and clarity of annunciation can sometimes distort what is recognized and subsequently translated as text from the original audio or video. Most people react well and many of these are humorous. Others can be a bit dismayed, such as a minister who spoke the words “the bishop’s ashes,” however the text results for that particular phrase substituted a word for “ashes” that refers to a part of the body!
TechAddress: So what would you say is the guiding principle behind your company?
PodZinger: Simply stated our focus is to continually improve the consumer experience with audio and video search, while simultaneously pushing the envelope for online video advertising.
TechAddress: What is the mission of your company and what are you bringing to the market that is innovative?
PodZinger: We see PodZinger’s mission as shining a light into the previous “black space” of audio and video through search and automatic classification so that consumers can quickly connect to their passions, publishers can extend the shelf life of their content, and advertisers can effectively and efficiently tap into the growing opportunities of online video advertising.
TechAddress: Where are you in terms of funding and your lifecycle?
PodZinger: PodZinger was launched in January 2006 as part of BBN Technologies in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In August of this year, we announced the funding of PodZinger by BBN and its spinout as a subsidiary of BBN. As part of this, we are growing the consumer-facing web site and are adding to the roster of companies that leverage the power of PodZinger to fuel their audio and video search.
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