CastTV raises $3.1M to launch better video search

Corrected: Motwani is merely an advisorSan Francisco’s CastTV, a site that says it can search video better than leading players like Yahoo and Google by turning up Javascript-hidden files and other information, has raised $3.1 million from well-known venture capitalists.

Video search is a huge potential market: Lucrative advertising can be displayed by the search results. Predictably, a gaggle of players are targeting this area. CastTV has yet to launch — it will do so next month with a testing version, and in summer with a fully public one — but it has taunted with promises it can do much more than its competitors.

It digs up online videos buried behind Flash, Javascript and related plug-in technologies. CastTV can find copies of Grey’s Anatomy that Yahoo can not, for example (we saw a demo; see our coverage). It crawls and extracts metadata about files from code contained in their surrounding pages — all of which supplements the things it knows about the video files. This is significant, because some major sites such as USA Today have intentionally stiffed Google and others by hiding behind Javascript. The funding is also notable because the founders last year said they were not looking for capital for the time being.

Details of the investment are here. Draper Fisher Jurvetson led the round. Other investors include Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen and angel investor Ron Conway. Stanford professor Rajeev Motwani is an advisor.

Among CastTV’s competitors are Blinkx, Clipblast, Pixsy, PodZinger and Truveo (bought by AOL). Many of these players have been encouraged by Google’s failure to offer its video search capabilities to third-party sites, and hope they can license their technologies before Google does the same.

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