Digital Dealmakers: Gary Baker

Oct 9, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The player: Gary Baker, CEO of Los Angeles-based ClipBlast.com

The play: ClipBlast wants to operate at the core of the emerging video search marketplace, a vital area given the proliferation of video on the Internet. Late last month comScore reported that more than 106.5 million people, or about three out of every five U.S. Internet users, streamed or downloaded video during the month of July. That represents nearly 7.2 billion videos. The video search market is wide open since no one has yet cracked the code on how to easily search through the vast stores of video.

The pitch: Enter ClipBlast. “We have a solid way of finding the video that people want to be found and having access to the video people are searching for,” Mr. Baker said. “We scour the Web all the time.” The ClipBlast site is both a search engine and a snapshot of Internet video at any given moment with its list of featured videos and a real-time list of video clips being released online. The most-searched-for videos are usually top news stories, sports and popular TV shows such as ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” he said. Last week, ClipBlast announced it would index video for other Web sites, giving site owners a free downloadable search box that allows visitors to search within the site or across the Web. ClipBlast helps site owners make money with targeted ads.

In the mix: ClipBlast competitors include Truveo (bought by AOL), Blinkx, PureVideo and the big search engines Google and Yahoo.

The numbers: Mr. Baker founded the company in 2004 and rolled out the technology 18 months ago. The service emerged from beta testing in September. During the test phase the service attracted about 50,000 unique visitors per month, a number that has since doubled.

The money guys: The company is privately funded. Mr. Baker said he’s exploring options including strategic investments, venture capital and technology licensing.

Backstory: Mr. Baker, 49, was born and raised in Los Angeles. He attended the UCLA film school and directed children’s TV programs for Disney Channel. He also worked for America Online and went on to found Catalogsite.com, which he sold in 1997. He then joined IBM before starting ClipBlast. “Video search is really a necessary piece to this path I have been taking for the last 20 years,” he said. “It’s really how do we utilize technology to be entertained and informed and as producers how do we use the technology to get content seen by interested people,” he said.

Pros: “The opportunities I think are enormous in terms of making sense of this all and making it easy and giving users fast, specific, relevant results to their needs and giving content providers, the producers and distributors the ability to monetize their content. To truly turn this into a real business,” he said.

Cons: The biggest challenge is to ensure ClipBlast indexes all the video on the Web, he said.

Who knew? Mr. Baker is married with two children, ages 11 and 14. He’s a committed Deadhead, having followed the Grateful Dead since 1972.

Check out Daisy Whitney’s “Trial & Error” blog for more on ClipBlast.