Auditude Signs MTV, MySpace To Monetize Pirated Video

Remember when we gave you the scoop on that startup Auditude that’s trying to turn pirated TV clips into gold? Well, tonight it’s announcing that it’s signed its first TV network and video portal partners: MTV Networks and MySpace, respectively. Those are pretty significant pickups, considering that MTVN is owned by Viacom, which is suing YouTube for pirated clips of programs like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and MySpace is the second-largest U.S. video site.

Auditude’s system offers a significant opportunity to grow the overall potential of online video revenue. Here’s what happens today: Even if networks upload a official versions of their shows to the web, user uploads of the same bits will often get significantly more views because they get embedded in the right place, or they have more commonly searched keywords, or they isolate a particularly funny moment. So networks, in order to preserve the integrity of their own, pristine version, send out takedown notices and end up cutting out some of the most popular ways to view their own content. All those views, and the potential for revenue from them, go out the window.

New initiatives like YouTube’s Video ID aim to capitalize on that missed opportunity by allowing copyright holders to advertise against user uploads of their content. What separates Auditude from similar software offered by YouTube and third-party providers is that participating copyright holders don’t have to submit all the programs they want to police. Rather, Auditude uses its own analysis of TV streams to build data on everything that’s aired over the last four years.

Then, when Auditude scans a partner video site and finds an unauthorized match for that content, it overlays the user upload with a link to watch or buy an official version of the same video. It can also overlay standard video advertising.

Auditude CEO Adam Cahan formerly worked at both MTVN and Google. Auditude has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Greylock Partners that Cahan says is in the tens of millions. The previous incarnation of the company, before Cahan joined, had raised at least $1.1 million.

When we first wrote about Auditude we concluded it was pretty neat, but it really needed every network and video portal to sign on for its potential to be realized. One network and one portal is a pretty good start. And to get the one behind The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (which will both be included in the initial test on MySpace)? That’s a pretty big coup.

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