Congratulations to BroadbandTV Corp., 2012's most innovative company in B.C.

With 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s easy to see how trying to maintain control over copyright material can be expensive and time-consuming. BroadbandTV CEO Shahrzad Rafati turned prevailing models upside down by finding a way to continue feeding consumers an endless supply of free video while making it profitable for the content owners.

The idea behind BroadbandTV’s innovation is simple: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em – and charge ’em for it. “We help content owners unlock the value of their content online,” says Rafati.

BroadbandTV has two ways of handling proprietary content. It might acquire licences for the content by partnering with its owners, and then package, optimize and distribute it through BroadbandTV’s own consumer portal, VISO. Or it might trawl the Internet to find fan-uploaded content. When it does, it contacts the fan, urges them to comply with policies and guidelines established by the content’s publishers (a slap on the wrist, really) then, in most cases, permits the fan to continue posting the content, which Rafati will monetize through advertising – with a cut going to the owner of the content.

BroadbandTV’s client companies not only generate ad revenue from their own content, but through BroadbandTV they can direct fans back to their own or other approved sites to find more content. Meanwhile, Rafati explains, because BroadbandTV’s systems sit “on top of the tools Google created to protect itself,” Google is also earning revenue, via BroadbandTV, on content it could never monetize on its own without getting sued.

“Think about the business model,” says Innovators panellist Brent Holliday, an advisor and equity holder in BroadbandTV. Rafati “doesn’t host anything. She pays Google a fee for allowing her to use their network, as well as a cut of the royalty revenue from all the impressions she gets. Then the copyright holder gets money, and everybody’s happy.”

BroadbandTV works with more than 1,000 content partners and has more than 2.6 billion annual impressions. Its two biggest clients are the National Basketball Association and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., ideal fits considering two of the three biggest areas of pirated video are sports and music videos (the third is TV shows).

The Vancouver company is growing at mach speed, and with monetizing pirated content on computers firmly dialled, Rafati plans to extend BroadbandTV’s model across Android mobile devices next.