Pond5 boosts search and discovery as competition amps up in the stock video space

Stock video footage provider Pond5 has upgraded its website's search and discovery functions, adding what it calls an AI search engine named NextSense which includes a Visual Discovery feature to help its customers -- which include media and entertainment companies like HBO and Viacom -- find video footage quickly.

"Search is the most important single experience in e-commerce. Period, full stop," said Ryan Scott, co-CEO of Pond5, in an interview with FierceOnlineVideo.

Pond5's new engine hopes to solve some of the complexities of searching for footage to add to digital videos for both the video creators who sell on the site, and its buyers.

"The first feature is called NextSense. This is an auto tagging image recognition software based tool that launches and analyzes videos and images to generate the best possible keywords for media content," Scott said. "When artists come to the site and visit their upload page we automatically recommend a set of 20 keywords they can use to easily tag their content, which makes it much more searchable and alleviates them of all the guesswork and burden … ensuring that they're delivering their content on the site and serving it in a way that's most relevant to the user."

On the other side of this discovery coin, buyers use the search engine's Visual Discovery feature to find video, music and images that they need to complete a video project.

"It anticipates what a buyer wants to see based on his or her keywords in a search, something called visual similarity, and mega trends from the collective Pond 5 community," Scott said. "Mega trend … looks at quantitative ways that our community searches and filters and sorts for imagery, videos and music. Meaning, do they look at angles and weight that more than they weight another aesthetic quality like lighting? Or topical view versus side shot? Do they want a specific format filter?"

Scott said that Pond5 developed its new AI search engine based on a specific industry problem: time spent searching for the right video footage. "We did ethnographic (studies) in a seven-month effort to not only build out AI technology but … to build out a very rich user experience and user interface that fit our buyers' ethnographic way they work. A lot of them are in Adobe Premiere Pro, they're in Final Cut, and what they're doing is they're time-starved. They need to be able to see lots of images quickly, and they need to be led down pathways. They don't have the time (to waste) searching for media files to fill in the gaps in their creative process. They want extreme efficiency in time and they want amazing aesthetics."

Pond5 is bringing its new search engine online as the digital stock video market begins to amp up. Founded in 2006, the company competes with a number of other stock providers such as Videoblocks, which also targets major media and entertainment industry players as well as providing stock footage to individual creators.

To sweeten the pot, Pond5 introduced new subscription tiers alongside the new search engine launch. Its Pro membership plan is $49 per month or $349 per year with 5 downloads available per month, while its Premium membership plan is $89 per month or $599 per year with 10 downloads available per month along with access to other media types like 4K videos. The company is also offering these new plans at a 50 percent discount for a limited time, according to a press release.

Pond5 has built up a large enough video library to make its search engine a big value-add for both sellers and buyers on its site, Scott said.

"We saw an opportunity to disrupt a slow-to-market, slow-to-innovate industry," Scott said. "… The breadth and depth of the network is what has given us the ability to now focus in on the buyers and their decision making and giving them a next generation experience."

For more:
- see the release

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