MySpace, Auditude, And MTV Have Just Figured Out How To Monetize Online Video

Since YouTube heralded the era of user-uploaded videos, media corporations have been fighting a hopeless battle to regain control of their content, sending out endless waves of DMCA notices in a vain attempt to take down countless clips scattered across the web. In the last year sites like Hulu have made progress – it’s finally possible to legally embed a clip of The Office in your blog, but publishers continue to lose out on millions of video clips that were uploaded without permission.

Now MySpace – a site that once seemed the antithesis of innovation – has implemented an exciting new ad platform called Auditude that may change the way content owners treat uploaded video entirely. The new platform will automatically identify any uploaded video clips from a number of shows produced by MTV Networks (including my personal favorite “The Daily Show”), and will display an overlay when the clip is played that shows which episode the clip originally came from, its original air-date, and links to online stores where users can buy the entire episode.

In the past it has been nearly impossible to effectively monetize user-uploaded videos because they are typically tagged with such informative titles as “REally cool!” and “hilarious”. The Auditude platform ignores this information, relying solely on fingerprints taken from the clip’s audio and video data. These fingerprints are matched to prints in Auditude’s massive database, which spans over 250 million videos and 4 years of television content, all sorted by show and air date.

Even more impressive: Auditude can fingerprint a portion of a video that is only a few seconds long and identify which show it was originally taken from. Once the clip is identified Auditude will overlay an ad within the video, allowing publishers to monetize their content even when it was uploaded by someone without permission and without any legible tagging information.

MySpace will be implementing the system with initial support for content from MTV Networks, with shows including The Colbert Report, Punk’d, and Sarah Silverman. So every time you post a clip of Jon Stewart ripping on the presidential candidates, someone is going to get paid, and users won’t have to deal with the often-clunky proprietary video players offered by each network. And instead of trying to prevent these clips from making it onto MySpace in the first place, content owners will want users to upload as many as possible.

Unfortunately, this may prove difficult: after years of being told not to upload these videos, users will probably take a while to warm up to the idea. But if it catches on (and it probably will), expect to see content owners flock to form partnerships with MySpace – there isn’t currently another video platform out there that is able to identify and monetize content this effectively. We’ll probably also see the Auditude platform implemented elsewhere as other sites try to catch up.

Last year YouTube launched a similar service called Video ID that gives publishers the option of either taking down illegal content or placing ads on it.