Sitting on the couch at blip.tv’s offices in Manhattan, chatting with Dina Kaplan, the company’s COO and Mike Hudak, CEO, I realized that one thing that Dina said was the true story behind this small company – that probably their content and distribution is the biggest and most unnoticed threat to TV networks.
Blip.tv is a video distribution and monetization platform. it offers distribution services to its customers, such an embedable player, distribution to main video sites, twitter notifications, and cross posting to blogs. The company also cut sponsorship deals for its customers with brands, as well as using basic advertisement technology to provide CPM/CPC of deals.
Their uniqueness is in their business strategy – focusing on independent producers of online shows:
– Independent producers are in most cases the ones who are not linked to major TV networks, the guys who just go out there with their own money (or, in some cases, investment money) and produce their own shows.
– Shows are not the dog on skateboard videos you see on YouTube, but an episodic content, just like regular TV shows.
Here’s an example of such a show, Political Lunch:
So, what’s the big news?
Well, couple of weeks ago, Mike and Dina showed me one cool thing – their integration with Sony Bravia. Sony Bravia has an Ethernet socket. And what I saw at blip’s offices is their content on a large screen TV with blip’s menu and interface.
Though Internet and TV integration is not a huge news, blip’s move into this area is significant.
Till now, independent creators had to face two challenges:
– The limited user experience web video offers
– How to promote their shows without the huge marketing budgets the networks have.
Now, blip’s player is no longer confined to the limitations of web video viewing experience. If users can just as easily see Political Lunch or The Closer, the competitive landscape is fundamentally different that the traditional separation of Internet video and TV experience. And again – the key here is that the content we are talking about is not the regular UGC low end content, but well produced shows, that are not a part of the TV industry.
In this new deal, blip.tv challenges the TV networks as they are providing new kind of content, from a new kind of creators, but on the same display vehicle – TV. By breaking the walls around web video user experience, and increasing the exposure to independently created shows, blip.tv are on a heads on attack on TV networks. Sure, they don’t have the money the big guys have – TV advertisement models and price range are much more profitable than what blip.tv and other online video communities can get today. However, like every innovation, things might take time, but they are definitely changing the landscape in a fundamental way.
It is yet to be seen if blip.tv will be around 3 years from now. I believe that they will be successful and snatched by one of gorillas in this market.
However their success or failure will not only indicate if they are good business people. It would be a clear sign for things to come in the market niche of independent content creators.