|Founded||May 5, 2005|
|Headquarters||New York City, United States|
|Parent||Maker Studios, Inc.
(The Walt Disney Company)
Blip (formerly blip.tv) is a media platform for web series content and also offers a dashboard for producers of original web series to distribute and monetize their productions. The company was founded on May 5, 2005, and is located in New York City (where the headquarters are based) and Los Angeles. It was financed by Bain Capital Ventures, Canaan Partners, and Ambient Sound Investments. Blip’s mission statement is “to deliver the best original web series to audiences across multiple platforms.” The site showcases a wide variety of dramas, comedies, arts, sports and other shows.
Founded on May 5, 2005 by Mike Hudack, Dina Kaplan, Justin Day, Jared Klett, and Charles Hope, blip.tv was bootstrap funded by its founders for the first year of its operation. The partners created blip.tv shortly after they joined Yahoo’s video blogging group, and saw an opportunity to create a video-hosting site that focused on being “a best–in-class video hosting,distribution and monetization platform for independent producers of quality video content.” The group acquired the blip.tv domain, created the site’s original interface in a week’s time then began attracting producers and viewers who were interested in niche video content, such as the web series, for which the site has since become known.
In 2007, blip.tv secured funding from Ambient Sound Investments and in 2008 received additional support from Bain Capital. In 2008, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore teamed up with Blip, alongside Brave New Films, to distribute his movie Slacker Uprising, which was the first time a notable director released a free, feature-length film via the Internet.
In 2009, blip.tv’s distribution network grew significantly with the addition of new partnerships with YouTube, Vimeo, NBC Local Media New York and Roku. In 2010, blip.tv surpassed 100 million video views. The following year, after reaching over three billion cumulative video views, the site underwent a massive overhaul. The company rolled out a new logo and name, dropping the “.TV” and becoming “Blip.” Along with the redesign came a change in business policy, and instead of acting mainly as a video distributor, Blip then "[embraced] its destiny as a video destination with a redesign that put the most popular blip.tv web series front and center."
Following the departure of many of the site’s founders, Kelly Day, who had previously worked for Discovery Communications, was brought in as the company’s new CEO in 2012. Day brought on Max Smith, previously CFO of Talking Media Group, as the new Chief Financial Officer and Jason Krebs, formerly Tremor Video's chief media officer, as the new president of sales and marketing.
In 2012, Blip announced the launch of Blip Studios, whereby the company works directly with brands, talent and independent producers of web video to create higher-quality content. For example, The Gauntlet, a video-game competition series, was made in partnership with Blip Studios and Rooster Teeth productions. Blip also has partnered with Yahoo whereby "Yahoo will promote 13 shows that Blip has distribution rights to on Yahoo Screen. Blip will distribute 16 Yahoo video series... on its destination site Blip.tv."
As of 2013, Blip Studios also has exclusive talent and distribution agreements with Channel Awesome, Juliansmith.tv, My Damn Channel, and others. Blip Studios content has cumulatively received more than 250,000,000 views. In the same year, Blip announced its intention to host content created by Ray William Johnson, The Dark Knight Rises producer Michael Uslan, and Fremantle Media North America, producer of American Idol and The Pet Collective.
After the acquisition, some user agreement terms were changed, including new requirements that content must be demonstrated to be part of a series and of high quality. Facebook commenting was added around the same time.
Market and business model
With a focus on serial web show programming to the exclusion of other types of online video, "the Blip.tv formula purposefully does not emulate the YouTube viral video sharing and friends and family video hosting model," according to ZDNet writer Donna Bogatin. All revenue from advertising is split 50/50 between content producers and Blip.
Since the site’s launch in 2005, Blip has amassed over of 2,500-plus independent producers and collaborated with more than 300 blue chip advertisers and 26 of the top 50 advertisers in the US, including GM, P&G, Microsoft, Google, Geico, and more. Blip also enables advertising partners to deliver fully customizable video advertising, including interactive pre-rolls and video overlays.
In 2012, according to figures from ComScore and Quantcast, Blip has around 500 million global monthly views, and 40 million unique monthly viewers. For comparison, YouTube receives over 1 billion global views per month. The average viewer spends about 80 minutes on the site each month and the average viewing session on the site is about 25 minutes.
Online media production company Channel Awesome began distributing its content on Blip in 2008. Over the years, notable Channel Awesome review-series have included The Nostalgia Critic, The Cinema Snob, and Atop the Fourth Wall. The Nostalgia Critic videos themselves average over 100,000 to 200,000 views a week. In October 2012, Blip announced a partnership with Channel Awesome and the creation of a new review channel on YouTube, The League of Super Critics. The channel consists of well known web personalities including Nostalgia Critic, Nostalgia Chick, The Cinema Snob and Todd in the Shadows. The shows cover a variety of topics including television, books, films and music.
Blip also has a partnership with Rooster Teeth, the producers of The Gauntlet, Red vs. Blue, Immersion, and Achievement Hunter. Red vs. Blue has received much critical acclaim and won the award "Best Animated Web Series" from the International Academy of Web Television.
Blip has been amassing exclusive comedy programming. Through its partnership with My Damn Channel, the sixth season of David Wain's Wainy Days web-series will air exclusively on Blip. Blip also hosts other My Damn Channel content including Daddy Knows Best, which stars Stephen Rannazzisi as a deadbeat dad, and video blog series Daily Grace. Blip also has partnerships with online comedians Julian Smith and Ray William Johnson.
After being one of the dozens of channels that were part of YouTube’s $100 million original channel initiative, FremantleMedia dropped its partnership with YouTube in favor of working with Blip on the production of The Pet Collective, which showcases short clips of animals. Although the videos will continue to be distributed on YouTube, Blip has a first-run distribution window and will act as exclusive ad-sales agent for The Pet Collective.
Viewing Blip videos on a PC or laptop requires the Adobe Flash Player plug-in to be installed on the browser. File size is limited to 1 GB for uploads on the Blip site. The player is currently Flash-based. The video quality on Blip is optimized using the H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec using a high quality profile. On the site, each show page is encouraged to have a show poster, header graphic and website banner.
It is Blip’s policy to block access or remove material that it believes in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of their users.
Censorship & controversy
From 29 July 2007, Blip was blocked by the Chinese Government, in an attempt to make the site unavailable to Chinese mainland users. As of April 2011, Blip.tv was also blocked by Turkey.
On April 3, 2013 Blip turned on pre-roll advertising for all of its videos. This was a big switch for Blip which had previously described its advertising program as “entirely voluntarily.” Some publishers were angered by the changes stating that when they signed up for the site, it specifically stated that publishers could use Blip’s services without having pre-roll ads. Users are now only able to turn off ads on five of their videos.
Blip implemented an ad blocker blocker on May 10, 2013. Instead of viewing an advert, Blip users with an ad blocker activated on their web browser are prompted to view a sixty second message from Blip about deactivating content filtering software. Blip’s statement on the matter is: “We don’t want to completely block access to our streams, but we do want viewers with ad blockers to realize that pre-roll video ads, in particular, are the primary source of revenue for our producers. We encourage all viewers to turn off your ad blockers, and we encourage all producers to raise this issue with their fans.” After receiving backlash regarding this change, That Guy With The Glasses member Linkara released a video asking fans of the site to support the playing of ads.
On November 7, 2013 Blip began removing the content of producers that were not generating enough revenue, replacing their content with the following message, "After many years of being an open platform, Blip is now taking its mission to bring the best original web series to our audience more seriously. To accomplish this, it is essential that we fully support producers who are dedicated to their craft and are committed to making their shows successful. This renewed focus means that we have had to make some tough decisions about how and where we direct Blip’s resources. Over the past few months, we have been reviewing the Blip content library and identifying accounts that don’t meet our Terms of Service. These accounts were removed on November 7, 2013. If you have encountered a Blip page or player with the message "Sorry, this show has been removed from Blip", it means the show you are looking for has been removed."
Prior to making this decision to remove content all producers were forced to include advertising on their videos or remove their content. As a result, the previously open, ad free option has been replaced by a stricter ad supported business model.