Blip.tv is not a blip in online video.
I chatted at length with Mike Hudack, co-founder and CEO, today about how blip.tv came to be and where it is headed.
Blip.tv has a simple tag line that encapsulates its straightforward mission: “a great service for great shows.”
Hudack and his four co-founders are independent video enthusiasts themselves and blip.tv was inspired last year by their own individual efforts to participate in the world of video blogging.
Hudack, Dina Kaplan, co-founder and COO, and three industry colleagues joined the Yahoo Video Blogging Group in spring 2005 to pursue their personal interests in online video. Insights shared among the mailing list participants led the team of five to set out on their own to create a best–in-class video hosting, distribution and monetization platform for independent producers of quality video content.
Blip.tv describes itself:
The blip.tv pitch sounds too good to be true: “blip.tv is a free videoblogging, podcasting and video sharing service. If you don't have a blog we'll give you one, and if you have one already we'll make it a show.”
We believe that the world is fundamentally changing as it becomes easier and easier for individuals and small groups of people to create their own shows. Our mission is to make this even easier by taking care of all the problems a budding videoblogger, podcaster or TV producer would run into. You should have to worry about creativity. We'll take care of the servers, the software, the workflow, the advertising and the distribution.
I asked Hudack how blip.tv can support such largesesse.
Hudack has extensive programming and systems administration experience. Prior to blip.tv, Hudack served on the National Hockey League’s IT team and led high profile projects such as consolidation and re-development of the NHL’s internal applications to serve hundreds of employees using dozens of technologies (from the IBMAS/400 to Sun’s J2EE to Lotus Notes to Perl).
Hudack and his partners founded blip.tv shortly after they joined the Yahoo video blogging group. With Hudack’s IT expertise and the pooling of the team’s “spare” servers and existing software, it took barely a week to acquire a domain and create the blip.tv interface.
Blip.tv’s bootstrap beginnings are matched by ongoing expertise-fueled infrastructure cost efficiencies.
Angel investors are also playing a role in financing blip.tv’s operations.
Blip.tv characterizes itself as running a “a sustainable business.” That means monetization through advertising, professional accounts and the licensing of software and services to third parties.
Advertising is the core component of the blip.tv business model. The blip.tv pitch to video creators:
You deserve to make money from your hard work. That's why blip.tv has built an open advertising marketplace where you can pick the video advertising company that works best for you. If you've got a hit show we'll even go out and meet with media buyers directly to get you a real, honest-to-goodness high-end sponsorship. We share everything 50/50.
Blip.tv is currently working with third party video ad networks for post-roll ad placements and has video sponsorship deals in the works.
While blip.tv hopes that all video contributors using their platform will take advantage of the ad revenue opportunity, content creators can opt out. Blip.tv prides itself on making sure video creators are “in control at all times.”
Blip.tv offers a range of monetization and distribution options, but lets the video producers decide what do with their own content. At blip.tv, video creators always maintain copyright and branding.
We'll make your show available on blip.tv, and maybe even promote it on our homepage. Then we give you the tools you need to send it to your own blog, to MySpace, to del.icio.us, Yahoo! Video and iTunes. If you've got a great show we'll even use our muscle to get it promoted in the Quicktime Player and lots of other places.
A recent deal with Akimbo's Internet video on demand service will make blip.tv premium content available for television viewing.
Blip.tv is a favored platform for professional, independent video creators such as Amanda Congdon and TreeHuggerTV.
Blip.tv is proud of the quality of its leading video contributors and Hudack aims to do a “end run around the networks.”
Hudack champions “video portability to the TV set,” in particular the “serialized, episodic video content” that blip.tv attracts.
Blip.tv is no YouTube, Hudack happily notes.Blip.tv is focused on hosting, distributing and monetizing independently produced TV quality content, for the mutual benefit of both the video creators and blip.tv. The blip.tv formula purposefully does not emulate the YouTube viral video sharing and friends and family video hosting model.
Hudack also happily told me, however, that Google’s acquisition of YouTube “inflates our value in the marketplace.”
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